NDC MP fights EC’s move to make Ghana Card, passport admissible for new voters’ registration

National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for North Dayi Rockson Dafiamekpor, has said the Electoral Commission’s push to make the Ghana Card and passport accepted identification to for the new voters’ registration will be opposed.

“It’s not a good idea. And we are vehemently opposed to it. We think it infringes Article 42 of the constitution. We are opposed to it. And we are going to ask them to go back…” he said.

“And indeed,
when they said passport, you know the primary source of identification to get a
passport is a birth certificate. Why are they asking for passport and not the
primary document birth certificate?” he quizzed.

The EC has
submitted to Parliament amendments to the law guiding the conduct of elections
that will make the Ghana Card and passports the only primary identification
documents to register for the new voter’s ID card.

People who
do not have any of the two documents would have to get two newly registered
voters to guarantee for them before they can register.

The new legal authority, however, says no individual can guarantee for more than ten people.

The
amendment, if approved by the house, will effectively mean other forms of
national identification including the existing voter’s ID card, birth
certificate and other national documents cannot be used in registering for the
new voter ID card.

Despite widespread
opposition and recent coronavirus scare that has forced the limiting of public
gatherings, the Electoral Commission has insisted it is going ahead with plans
to begin compiling a new voter’s register, although it has hinted that the
April 18 date for the process may change.

The NDC MP
said it will be wasteful for the Electoral Commission to insist old voter’s ID
card cannot be used to register for the new ID card when huge investments have
been made into the compilation of the old voter register.

“How can the
Electoral Commission be this reckless?” the North Dayi MP quizzed.

He alleges
the Electoral Commission is taking instructions from the executive arm of
government which is forcing them to sideline the existing voter ID cards and
rather rely on the national identification card and passport to register for
the new card.

Meanwhile,
Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Osei-Kyei Mensah Bonsu
laid the document to allow for amendments to the legal authority, the Public
Elections (Registration of Voters) (Amendments) 2020, before the House on
behalf of the electoral commission.

Jean Mensah
who is the Electoral Commission signed it.

In the new
amendment being sought, the EC is requesting that the following provisions be
included in the existing legal authority.

“A person
who applies for registration as a voter shall; provide as evidence of
identification one of the following:

a) A
passport

b) A
national identification card

c) One voter
registration identification guarantee form as set out in Form One of the
Schedule that has been completed and signed by two registered voters.”

Second
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin who was presiding over sitting
referred the document to the Subsidiary Legislation Committee.

Per the rules, Parliament cannot amend a Constitutional Instrument brought to it for approval. It automatically becomes law after 21 sitting days unless the House orders its withdrawal.

If any
changes have to be made to the constitutional instrument, the entire document
would have to be sent back to the institution that brought it for a revised
version to be laid.

It remains
to be seen how the minority will push through its rejection of the Electoral
Commission’s document.

The Subsidiary Legislation Committee which the document was referred to is only one of two committees in the house which has a minority MP as chairman.

Former Deputy Attorney General Dr Domnic Ayine chairs the committee.

 

Source: Myjoyonline.com

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