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Supreme Court excludes old voter IDs, birth certificates for voter registration

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The Supreme Court has dismissed two suits that were seeking the use of the existing voter identification card and birth certificates as the source documents for the upcoming voter registration exercise.

Graphic Online’s reporter, Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson who was in the courtroom reported that in a unanimous decision Thursday, June 25, a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court dismissed the case by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) which wanted an order for the use of the existing voter ID card and one Mark Takyi-Benson, who wanted the use of a birth certificate as source documents for eligibility to register as a voter.

The Supreme Court further held that the Electoral Commission (EC) has the authority granted under Article 45 of the 1992 Constitution to compile an electoral roll.

The apex court granted only two reliefs sought by the NDC which had nothing to do with the inclusion of the use of an existing voter ID card as source documents and dismissed all the other reliefs.

Granted reliefs

b. 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 to compile and review the voters’ register must be exercised subject to respect for and the protection of the right to vote;

c. A declaration that, upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly article 42, upon the registration of and issuance of a voter identification card to a person, that person has an accrued right to vote which cannot be divested in an arbitrary and capricious manner;

Dismissed reliefs

d. A declaration that, upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Article 42 of the Constitution, all existing voter identification cards duly issued by the 2nd Defendant to registered voters are valid for purposes of identifying such persons in the exercise of their right to vote;

e. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution, specifically Article 42, the 2nd Defendant’s purported amendment of Regulation 1 sub-regulation 3 of the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016 (C.I 91) through the Public Elections (Registration of Voters)(Amendment) Regulations, 2020 to exclude existing voter identification cards as proof of identification to enable a person apply for registration as a voter is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever;

f. A declaration that the 2nd Defendant, in purporting to exercise its powers pursuant to article 51 of the 1992 Constitution to exclude the existing voter identification cards from the documents required as of identification to enable a person register as a voter without any legal basis or justification is arbitrary, capricious and contrary to article 296 of the 1992 Constitution;

g. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution specifically Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, proof of identification for registration as a voter should not be limited by the provisions of Public Elections (Registration of Voters)(Amendment) Regulations, 2020;

h. An order directed at the 2nd Defendant to include all existing voter identification cards duly issued by the 2nd Defendant as one of the documents serving as proof of identification for registration as a voter for the purposes of public elections;

Order

The Supreme Court ordered that the compilation of the new register should be in compliance with C.I 126.

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