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Ghana Electoral Commission Begins Preparations for November Polls

FILE - A man casts his vote at a polling station during presidential elections in Accra, Dec. 7, 2012.

The spokesman for the Electoral Commission of Ghana says the electoral body is implementing measures in an effort to be ready to administer the November 7 presidential, legislative and local elections.

Eric Dzakpasu said the electoral commission is satisfied and comfortable with its preparation efforts to organize the polls.

This, he said, began with the limited registration of prospective voters who turned 18 years of age this year as well as those who weren’t able to previously register to enable them participate in the elections. The registration, which ended on May 8, is part of the electoral commission’s plans to compile a voter list to be used for the election.

Dzakpasu said the electoral commission’s preparations so far indicate the electoral body is on course to organize a credible and transparent general election.

“We are now at the stage of printing the provisional voter register, which now captures the new applicants who were registered during the limited registration exercise, after which we will be exhibiting the voters register. The exhibition exercise is slated for the 18th of July up to the 7th August 2016,” said Dzakpasu.

“This is an exercise where we update and clean the voters register. Essentially, the opportunity is given to people to go and check their data as captured during the registration period so that people can make corrections to their basic data. In that same exercise, those whose names were inadvertently omitted from the register can now apply for inclusion,” he said.

“When we finish the voter registration exercise, we will now move to the stage where we will take nominations [of candidates] in September and hopefully we will have the elections on 7th of November.”

The voter registration plans however hit a snag when the Supreme Court ruled that voters who used the National Health Insurance cards to register should be removed from the voter list. The judges ruled that the electoral commission erred by registering voters with the health insurance card. They asked the electoral body to come up with plans to carry out their orders.

“Following the ruling, the Supreme Court made very specific clear cut orders [Thursday] and we are supposed to go back to the Supreme Court on the 29th of June and present a list of people who registered with the National Health Insurance card far back in 2012, whom later were declared to be ineligible to be on the voters register. This list we are going to present to the Supreme Court and then submit a written memo on the steps or procedure that we would use to delete such people from the register in readiness for the election,” said Dzakpasu.

He said the electoral commission is working closely with the political parties to address any of their concerns or consider their suggestions before the polls. He added that the partnership between the two groups remains cordial.

“We meet frequently at the Interparty Advisory Committee level where we exchange ideas and we build consensus on issues and innovation that we want to bring into the system and then mark the way forward. So, I will say the relationship between us and the political parties, so far, so good,” said Dzakpasu.

Meanwhile, the electoral commission said it plans to increase the polling stations across the country to 29,000.