The Electoral Commission (EC) is conducting a pilot registration exercise nationwide ahead of the expected voter registration exercise later in June.
A mix of residents, EC officers and political party officials took part in the exercise nationwide.
In some parts of the country, the EC officers said only stakeholders including returning officers and some party representatives have so far turned up for the exercise though it is opened to the public.
Residents in Tamale who spoke to Citi News lauded the punctuality and ease of the registration process.
But some problems with guarantor registration were noted during the exercise.
The Acting Northern Regional Director of the EC, Lucas Yiryel, noted that the challenges have been communicated to the head office for redress.
“We had some issues with the machines with regard to getting the polling stations… Accra has instructed them what to do and they have resolved that issue.”
“The only problem we have not addressed, is in an attempt to register someone using the Guarantor form, the system was not receiving it,” Mr. Yiryel noted.
In the Ashanti Region, the region’s Secretary for the National Democratic Congress, Kwame Zu raised concern with the fact most of the persons taking part in the pilot exercise in his area were EC officers.
“It is a controlled atmosphere that may not representative of a typical registration atmosphere,” he noted.
Kwame Zu further indicated that NDC in the Ashanti Region will formally make their observations known to the public on the pilot exercise.
During the exercise, safety protocols put in place for the novel coronavirus were largely seen to be observed.
Per the EC’s safety protocols for the registration, it will be mandatory to wear face masks at the registration centres, people’s temperature will be checked before one is allowed into the registration centre and there will be running water available for handwashing, according to an artwork posted on the Commission’s social media pages.
Queues are to have one-metre gaps between persons lining up to register, the scanners will be sanitised and persons who complete the registration process will also be provided with hand sanitiser before they leave the centre.
It may be recalled that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) sued the EC over its decision to compile a fresh voters’ register.
The opposition party has already staged a number of protests against the EC body’s decision.
In their latest line of action, the NDC is seeking a “declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, 2nd Defendant has the constitutional power to, and can, compile a register of voters only once, and thereafter revise it periodically, as may be determined by law.
“Accordingly, 2nd Defendant can only revise the existing register of voters, and lacks the power to prepare a fresh register of voters, for the conduct of the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.”
The Party among others said want “A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, specifically article 51 read conjointly with article 42 of the Constitution, the power of the 2nd Defendant [EC] to compile and review the voters’ register must be exercised subject to respect for and the protection of the right to vote.”
The NDC has since insisted that there is no need to compile a new voters’ roll but the Commission is adamant.
According to the EC, the current voters’ register and its management system and biometric verification devices cannot deliver a credible election.