The on-going national voter exhibition exercise mounted by the Electoral Commission (EC) is yet to gather momentum as it started slowly on its first day on Tuesday, September 10.
When some of the polling stations were visited on the first day of the exhibition in the new Juaben Municipality, only a handful of voters had come to check their names in the register, whiles there were no polling agents from any of the political parties.
As at midday at the Koforidua Polyclinic polling station on Tuesday, only three people had come to check out of 504 voters on the register whiles at the Legion Hall polling station 70 people had checked out of 666 registered.
At Glamour polling station only five people out of 494 registered voters had come to check their names and at some of the polling station no voter had gone to check.
In an interview with the EC officer at the Glamour polling station, Ms Cynthia Gbenyo, she said the process had been slow but expressed the hope that it would pick up in the following days.
Asked if there had been any party agent, she said only an agent from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) came around in the morning, but left shortly.
Mr Emmanuel Marfo, EC official at the Legion Hall polling station expressed the hope that the euphoria would pick up in the ensuing days.
Low turnout in Elmina
At Elmina in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Municipality of the Central Region, scores of people stood aloof near the various registration centres.
When questioned, some said publicity on the exercise was low, while others expressed concern about the lack of sign post directing people to the centres.
Others disclosed that they were no longer interested in exercising their franchise in any general election and therefore would not participate in the exercise.
The week-long voter exhibition exercise, which will enable voters to verify their details including; their names and photographs, and make the necessary corrections if any, will also help the EC to clean the register by taking out the names of unqualified people, including; minors and non-citizens, the deceased and those who registered more than once.
However, in all the centres visited, as of 1300 hours, there was no name of deceased taken out of the register.
At Iture exhibition centre, which had 300 names on the register, no one showed up as at 1030 hours and Mr. Ekow Bruce, the Exhibition Officer was worried about the situation, but hopeful of significant improvement in subsequent days to enable all to exercise their franchise.
At the Nkontrodo Community Centre, Ms Claudia Acquah, Exhibition officer confirmed that only three males out of 755 names had visited the Centre as at 1055 hours.
The story was not different at Islamic Primary School at Elmina Zongo, where Ms Rosemary Woode, the Exhibition Officer also expressed concern that only 14 people had checked their details out of a total of 742.
Madam Grace Donkoh, a 62-year-old business woman who had finished checking her details at Zongo advised all citizens to get themselves involved in every national exercise.
She indicated that the exercise was part of citizens’ civic responsibility towards deepening Ghana’s democratic credentials to stimulate economic growth.
Low turnout in Bolgatanga and Bawku
The exhibition of the Voter register by the Electoral Commission (EC) on Tuesday started smoothly in the Upper East Region with Bolgatanga and Bawku Municipalities registering low turnouts.
The nationwide exercise, which seeks to give opportunity to registered voters to correct errors regarding their particulars, would end on September 17, 2019.
Even though the exercise started smoothly in most of the polling stations in the Municipalities, few people have so far shown interest and there are no queues at the polling stations.
At about 1400 hours, only few people had verified their details at some of the exhibition centres.
The exhibition centre at the regional House of Chiefs, where 636 people were on the register, only 11 people had verified, while nine people verified their details at the Junior Staff Quarters exhibition centre.
The Exhibition Officer at the Bukere Primary exhibition centre, Ms Patience Yinbumongsor said that out of a total of 1,040 registered voters, only 12 had verified.
The Exhibition Officer said it was a normal practice, where people usually waited until the last day to verify their particulars.
She said it was prudent for registered voters to verify early in order to avoid long queues on the last days, which may deny some people their right to verify and correct irregularities in their particulars.
Upper West: Rainfall disturbs attendance
Polling Centres within the Wa Municipality recorded low numbers, according to the EC, where the rainfall disrupted the exhibition process as voters felt reluctant to show up for the exercise.
EC officials who did not have rain coats or protective gears were spotted seeking protection under sheds and in nearby houses to the polling centres.
Speaking in an interview, the Upper West Regional Director of EC, Mr Ali Osman confirmed that the rainfall affected the turnout, but expressed optimism it would improve in the coming days.
He said the heavy showers experienced over the entire region caused all the 1,054 polling stations to register low numbers in the first day of the nationwide exhibition exercise.
“I think the reason why we are recording this low numbers are as a result of the rainfall across the region, but I am very optimistic that starting from tomorrow (Wednesday) the whole process will move on smoothly for as to finish the exhibition within the stipulated time,” he said.
At the Mangu Methodist Primary Polling Station “A” in the Wa Municipality, the register contained 764 names, but as at the time the station was visited at about 12 noon, only 13 people had come to check their details.
Also at the Kambali Primary “B” Polling Station, only seven people had checked their personal data out of 659 names on the register at about 1300 hours.
By 1315 hours at St Andrews Primary polling Centre at Wa, Konta the EC officials were yet to report to the Centre and there was no one in sight waiting for the exercise.
Mr Andrews Owusu Sekyere, one EC official at the Sokpereyiri Polling Station said in addition to the rains, inadequate information on the exhibition was also a factor.
“The advertisement of the voters register exhibition is a bit low since most of the residents say they are not aware of any exercise.”
“I suggest next time the EC should make sure they engage some of the local radio stations to advertise in the local languages, but not to focus on only television.”
“The exhibition is for prospective voters to verify their personal details during the exercise slated for one week and make amendments where necessary.”
The 2019 registration captured about 1.2 million people, which added up to about 15. 8 million existing voters, bringing the total provisional register to 17 million.
The on-going national voter exhibition exercise mounted by the EC will end on Tuesday, September 17 in all polling stations across the country.