In Ghana, the current constitution, written in 1992 under a chapter on
Representation of the People, states that "Every citizen of Ghana of 18 years or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda".
This statement gives a right to register and vote and so registration as a voter and participation in public elections and referenda in Ghana is at the discretion of the voter.
The 1992 constitution also established an Electoral Commission (EC), with one of its functions as "to compile the register of voters and revise it at such periods as may be determined by law."
As a matter of fact, it goes on further to say that the EC is also to undertake programmes for the expansion of the voters register.
It is in fulfilment of this constitutional mandate that the EC has set aside today, Tuesday, June 30, to compile a new voters' register for the presidential and parliamentary elections later in December this year.
In line with Article 42 and 45 of the 1992 Constitution and C.I.126, Public Election (Registration of Voters) (Amendment) Regulation, 2020, the EC maintains that it is discharging its constitutional mandate in compiling a new voters register from June 30 to August 6, 2020.
The new register will replace previous registers and each registered voter will be issued with a biometric voter identity card ahead of the December presidential and parliamentary elections.
According to the Commission, the exercise will be held at all registration centres and district offices of the EC throughout the country.
Before now however, the EC had to battle it out with the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), and a number of civil society groups as well as chiefs who were vehemently opposed to the compilation of a new register until the Supreme Court ended the impasse by upholding the position of the EC in its ruling last week.
Now that the feud has ended and the exercise has begun, it would be in the national interest to call on all stakeholders to join forces in making the registration a success.
The Ghanaian Times joins President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to appeal to all Ghanaians above 18 years and of sound mind to turn up in their numbers to participate in the registration exercise beginning today.
We add our voice to the call on all eligible Ghanaians no matter what party they belong to, to go out and register and exercise their civic responsibility on December 7, 2020, to elect a government of their choice in a free, fair, peaceful and transparent election.
While making the appeal however, we wish to remind everyone to strictly observe the COVID-19 protocols in order to avoid contracting the disease during the exercise.
Thankfully, the EC has assured that safety measures, including the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hand sanitisers as well as the compulsory wearing of face masks by all would be enforced at all designated registration centres throughout the country to protect applicants.
We hope that with this assurance, all qualified Ghanaians would turn up to register to make the exercise a success.