Electoral Commission cautions underage persons participating in voter registration exercise

Electoral Commission cautions underage persons participating in voter registration exercise

The Electoral Commission (EC) has issued a warning to underage citizens participating in the ongoing limited voter registration exercise, stressing that offenders will face the consequences of the law.

It also urged guardians to advise their underaged wards to stay clear of participating in the process.

“We would like to use this opportunity to entreat parents to advise their wards who are less than 18 years old not to be coerced by anyone to assume a new age and register as a voter because they may find themselves on the wrong side of the law,” the EC Deputy Chairperson in charge of Corporate Services, Dr Eric Bossman Asare said during a press conference in Accra on Thursday.

He further disclosed that the Commission had received evidence of foreigners, minors, and other ineligible persons participating in the registration exercise under the guise of the guarantor system. 

According to him, this act was being backed by some political parties.

He thus asked political parties to desist from pushing ineligible people to register, stressing that it would be better if the political parties channeled their influence into helping the EC establish a credible voters’ roll.

Dr Asare reiterated that any ineligible person caught participating in the registration exercise will be brought to the book.

Subsequently, he underscored that the guarantor system had outlived its usefulness owing to abuse over time, and lobbied the populace to support the EC in introducing the Constitutional Instrument (C.I.), which seeks to make the Ghana Card the sole identification card for registration.

“The Electoral Commission believes that the guarantor system has outlived its usefulness, and we are convinced that the time is right for a system that every registrant is identified on his or her own merit rather than another person vouching for the age and nationality of that person. 

“We believe this must stop and the parties, the media, CSOs, all of us must support the EC to ensure the laying and the passage of the C.I.” 

The EC began the Limited Voters Registration exercise on September 12, 2023, to enable Ghanaians over the age of 18 to register to enable them to vote in the next District Assembly elections. 

Eligible voters participating in the exercise are to use either their Ghana Card or passport as proof of identity and if neither is available, applicants are to present two registered voters to guarantee for them. 

Since the commencement of the exercise, the Commission reported that 673,276 people have registered, out of 700,000 projected by October 2, 2023. 

Dr Asare said he was optimistic that the Commission would meet its projected target since more kits had been distributed to the registration centers in addition to those already available.

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