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Make certified copies of voters register available to political parties

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The Leadership of Parliament has urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to make copies of the certified voters register available to political parties early enough and prior to the December 7 general election.

They have also requested the chairperson of the EC to appear before the Committee of the Whole of Parliament to brief members on preparations the EC has made for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

Both the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, made the call after the former had presented the business statement on the floor of the House yesterday.

Nov 11 target

The EC had now resolved to make copies of the certified voters register available to all political parties and candidates on November 11, this year.

According to the Director of Elections at the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe, the commission had planned to give the certified register out to the parties one month before the elections, but because the EC had to complete transfers and compilation of special voters before giving it out, it had now targeted November 11 to make the register available.

Provide certified copy, not provisional

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Iddrisu told the House that the Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa, had to brief the Whole of Parliament on preparations the commission had so far made for the elections in December.

He also wanted the EC chairperson to indicate to the House the extent to which she was complying with the laws passed by Parliament regarding particularly the issue of making certified copies of the voters register, not provisional copies, available to political parties as required by law.

EC must oblige

The Majority Leader in his response described the Minority Leader’s request for the EC to appear before the House to show its state of readiness for the December polls as a “worthy request”.

He said while the officials of the commission were busily preparing for the December general election, he would personally engage them and request of them to be in the House soon.

In his view, there was the need for the commission to make certified copies of the voters register available to political parties in due time before the conduct of the elections.

“Mr Speaker, the law provides for the EC to make the certified copy of the voters register available to political parties at least two clear months before the conduct of elections.

‘What’s not good yesterday cannot be good today,” he said.

While supporting the call for certified copies of the voters register to be made available to the political parties, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said none of the Electoral Commissioners, since 1992, had been able to conform to the constitutional provision requiring that political parties were given certified copies of the voters register on time.

Availability delays

He said in certain instances the certified register was made available by the electoral body only about one week to elections.

“In the last elections that Dr Afari-Gyan supervised in 2012, he submitted the certified copies of the voters register to political parties a week to elections. Charlotte Osei did hers 10 days before the conduct of the elections.

“That was not good enough and we should encourage the current commission to break away from it. It should not be said anywhere that such delays do not happen and that it is a mortal sin on the part of the EC for not making certified copies of the voters register available to political parties. That is incorrect and it is a palpable falsehood,” he said.

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