Court orders EC to provide legal basis for refusing voter IDs
The Supreme Court has given the Electoral Commission (EC) up to June 8, to offer a legal basis for excluding the existing identity cards from the new voter’s registration exercise.
“The court orders the second defendant [Electoral Commission] 13 days to offer legal basis for not allowing the existing voters identification card to be used in the registration.”
“This legal argument shall be filed before June 8, 2020,” Justice Yeboah directed.
A seven-member panel presided over by the Chief Justice, Anin Yeboah, issued the directive on Thursday.
The other members on the panel are Justice Dotse Victor Jones Mawulor, Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Justice Gbadegbe NS, Justice Marful-Sau, Justice Ashie Kotey and Justice Nene Amegatcher.
The lawyers in the case are Godwin Tamakloe for the NDC, Justin Amenuvor for the Electoral Commission and Godfred Dame representing the Attorney General.
The case has been adjourned to June 11, 2020.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC), in March 2020 dragged the Electoral Commission to the Supreme Court over the compilation of the new voters’ register.
The NDC has argued that the EC lacks the power to go ahead with its plans because it can only “compile a register of voters only once, and thereafter revise it periodically, as may be determined by law.
Accordingly, EC can only revise the existing register of voters, and lacks the power to prepare a fresh register of voters, for the conduct of the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.”
The NDC is also asking the court to declare as unlawful the EC’s decision to bar the use of the old voter ID cards for identification in the compilation of the new register.
It said the action is baseless and in breach of the Constitution.
The party wants a “declaration that the EC, 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 proof of identification to enable a person register as a voter without any justification is arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and contrary to article 296 of the 1992 Constitution.”
The EC’s decision to compile a new voters’ register has been met with mixed reactions from the political front.
The biggest opposition party, NDC, and other parties have strongly kicked against it.
But unmoved by its critics the EC proceeded with its pilot registration exercise, which ended on Wednesday.