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Seek clarification, we are not reducing polling stations in new voter’s registration exercise – EC to Minority

The Electoral Commission (EC) has denied claims by the Minority in Parliament that it plans to reduce the number of polling stations in the upcoming voters’ registration exercise.

According to the EC, no such statement was made during the Special Budget Committee sitting on Tuesday.

In a statement signed by the Acting Director of Public Affairs, Sylvia Annoh debunked any assertion in that regard.

She explained that the process would rather be phased under a cluster system which meant that “the 33,367 registration centres will be divided into five.”

The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu after Tuesday’s sitting told the press that “they [EC] intend to phase out some 6,300 registration centres out of the 33, 000 registration centres across the during the registration exercise.

He added, “…this troubles my heart because Article 42 will not be observed in essence through making it available to Ghanaian people a legitimate and guaranteed right that they are entitled to under the law.”

According to him, the Commissioner “does not seem to understand the essence of data synchronisation and data harmonisation.”

“In her answers to a simple question, she stated that they do not intend to use the data of the National Identification Authority. So, what will they do with the NIA card?” he quizzed.

But Sylvia Annoh has denied this in her press statement.

The EC said, “Each cluster would consist of 6,780 registration centres. Each cluster would be made up of five registration centres numbered 1-5. During the first phase, all the registration centres numbered 1 nationwide will register applicants for six days.”

It explained that “During the second phase all registration centres numbered 2, will register applicants for six days. This will go on until all the phases are covered. Thereafter, there will be a nationwide mop-up exercise.”

“Indeed, the fact that our explanation of the cluster system and methodology for registration never raised an eyebrow during our discussions indicates clearly that the EC never made this statement.”

The Electoral Commission stressed that it never said that it intends to use the biometric data in the National Identification Authority’s database.

“Indeed, the recently passed CI to guide the registration of voters, CI 126, does not include provisions to allow for the use of the biometric data of the NIA. What the CI states and which is what the Commission is seeking to do is to rely on the physical NIA card to prove a person’s citizenship as a precondition for registration,” it said.

Describing the Minority Leader’s utterances as unfortunate, the Commission expressed worry that “Members of Parliament will gloss over this decision and not seek clarification from the Commission on a critical subject such as this.”

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