The National Democratic Congress claims that the Electoral Commission’s decision to restrict registration to district offices is part of a plot to manipulate the 2024 general elections in favour of the governing New Patriotic Party.
Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the party’s National Chairman, has vowed to reject any EC-NPP election rigging plot.
In a press conference on September 12, 2023, he criticized the EC’s decision as irresponsible and an attempt to suppress votes.
“This irresponsible and unconscionable decision of the commission confirms the NDC’s long held view that the Jean Mensah-led EC is determined to rig the 2024 elections through voter suppression. But she will fail because we are ready for them.
Aside its potential to suppress registration and voting, the EC’s decision to restrict voter registration to its district offices can promote and facilitate gerrymandering as agents of political parties will find it difficult to challenge persons who may be bused from one constituency to another to register.”
He said, “We firmly believe the EC’s decision to restrict registration centres to their district offices will deprive many eligible Ghanaians of their right to be registered as voters and lead to voter suppression”.
He added “Also, whereas Article 45(e) of the 1992 Constitution mandatorily enjoins the EC to undertake programs to expand the registration of voters, the EC’s decision to restrict registration centres to their district offices will reduce access to voter registration. Hence contravenes Article 45(e) of the Constitution.
Again, the EC’s decision to restrict registration centres to their district offices violates Regulation 2(2)(b) of C.I 91 (Amended by C.I. 126) – the law that governs centres for voter registration.
Given the fact that the district offices of the EC are not suitable for use as polling stations on Election Day, the decision by the EC to restrict voter registration to its district offices is not only unreasonable but unlawful.
Also, given the long distances that many eligible voters will have to travel and the exorbitant fares they will have to pay to transport themselves to district offices of the EC under the excruciating hardships Ghanaians are presently confronted with, the decision is insensitive, unreasonable, unlawful and unconscionable.”
He said “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s instructive to note that Regulation 30 of C.I 91 enjoins the EC to revise the voters’ register annually and to do so at the electoral area level.
Yet, the Jean Mensah-led EC has violated the law in the last two years by not conducting any limited registration in 2021 and 2022.
This has created a huge backlog of about 2.8 million eligible persons including unemployed youth who are entitled to be registered.
This huge backlog is the more reason why the EC’s decision to restrict voter registration to their district offices is unconscionable and preposterous.
In 2019, the EC conducted limited voter registration in 1500 electoral area centres. Why will the EC reduce this number of registration centres to 268 now that they have a huge backlog of about 2.8 million persons to register? It simply doesn’t make sense.”