Read full document: EC explains why it can’t accept old voter’s ID cards

The Electoral Commission has filed its response to a suit challenging its decision to exclude existing identity cards from the new voter’s registration exercise.

It is a 31-page document, providing at least ten reasons for its controversial decision.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) which sued the EC wants the Supreme Court to declare, among others, that it is unlawful for the commission to refuse to accept the old voter ID cards as evidence of citizenship.

The main opposition party said it could deny eligible Ghanaians their fundamental right to vote.

The EC has said it will only accept the Ghana Card, which is not widely held; passport, which is less popular, or two Ghanaians vouching for a person’s nationality.

After filing its case, the Supreme Court directed the EC to respond. The response came Monday in compliance with the June 8 deadline.

Court orders EC to provide legal basis for refusing voter IDs

The EC stressed in its response that compiling a voter’s register was the sole and exclusive constitutional responsibility as stated in article 45a and 46 of the 1992 constitution.

It argued that the constitution allows its discretion to determine how it plans to compile the register which it has done in laying a regulation before parliament stating the acceptable means of obtaining a voter ID card.

The response said the EC has determined after an internal review and some diligence that the previous requirements for a voter’s ID card outlined in 2012 is problematic.

That regulation, Constitutional Instrument 12 (CI 12), did not require anyone to prove citizenship neither did satisfy the constitutional test for citizenship stated in the law.

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“The (EC) has found that those voter identification cards were issued without any form of identification at all and its ineligibilities, breaches and excesses were imported into the 2012 register pursuant to CI 72 in breach of Article 42 and displacing the credibility of the CI 12 cards”.

 The EC argued that the 2012 regulation put the burden of challenging a person’s claim to Ghanaian citizenship on the other party. The applicant for the card did not need to prove anything.

The EC also fell on a Supreme Court judgment in the first case of Abu Ramadan which said the use of the NHIS card to prove citizenship was unconstitutional. Large numbers of voters in the existing register used the NHIS card to get in there. The commission said it had no means of removing these names and could not comply fully with a 2016 directive of the Supreme Court to remove them.

The EC said the Supreme Court itself in a previous judgment maintained in a previous judgment that the existing register is reasonably not credible, which implies cards issued in compiling it are reasonably not credible.

The EC also said it had realized that it broke its own rules (CI 72) and the laws during the 2012 voter registration exercise.

“…it found a fundamental omission in its training manual and the manner in which the voter registration exercise was carried out in 2012 partly in breach of its own binding CI 72 and also in breach of Article 42 of the constitution”.

By moving to compile a new register and discarding the old ID cards the EC has signaled it “wants a break from the past to remedy all the carried on ineligibilities, excesses, and breaches of Article 42 as the existing cards have become fruits of a “poisoned tree”.

“It will be in continuous breach of article 42 of the constitution, to totally disregard this Honourable court’s own judgment to continue using the existing cards and It is in contravention of Section 8(1) of Act 750 (as amended) for the 2nd Defendant to accept the existing voter identification cards as a means of proving citizenship for the compilation of the new register,” the Supplementary Statement said.

 The EC also explained an amended law, National Identity Register Act, 2008 (Act 750), clearing stated the acceptable means of proving Ghanaian citizenship. The existing voter ID card is not one of them, the Commission pointed out.

That portion of the law states that following identity documents to register and be issued with the national identity card (Ghana Card):

  1. a birth certificate;
  2. a valid passport;
  3. a valid certificate of acquired citizenship; and
  4. any other information as may be required by the Authority.

The EC said what section 8(1) of this law has done is to “effectively exclude the existing voter identification card as a form of identification for the purposes of proving citizenship which is the first and foremost qualification required of an individual applying to be registered as a voter.”

“It is the considered opinion of the 2nd defendant (EC) that to accept any form of identification, including the existing voter identification cards, which is not provided for under Section 8(1) Act 750 (as amended) as a means of proving identification for the compilation of the new register will be in contravention of the statute” the commission’s supplementary Statement of Case reads.

Download (PDF, 8.38MB)

1 Comment
  1. Anonymous says

    The burning question y is the EC not ready to accept a birth certificate as a primary decument?I need an answer. This not about Npp, Ndc it is about the safety of the people of this country.

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