Voter registration: EC rolls out pilot exercise 

The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana has commenced a pilot exercise for the upcoming voter registration exercise in all 16 regions of the country.

The exercise will offer the EC the chance to address operational challenges with the voter registration amidst the coronavirus scourge.

The two-day exercise is being organised at the regional offices of the Commission to test biometric voter registration (BVR) kits and protocols to curb the COVID-19 spread.

Ghanaians, aged 18 years and above who are of sound mind are expected to register where they reside when the exercise begins.

Due to the coronavirus, the EC has rolled out measures to prevent the spread of the infection.

Participants were made to wash their hands at the entrance and temperatures taken before potential voters are allowed at the centre.

Both EC officials and registrants were provided with spaced out seats at the designated centres.

There were marks on the ground with one-meter spacing for people to observe social distancing while in queues.

All EC officials and potential voters were required to wear masks and sanitisers provided to disinfect the equipment used for registration.

The Regional Secretary for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Ashanti Region, Mr Kwame Zu, raised concerns about the process while citing the violation of social distancing protocols.

He was convinced that exercise would not proceed at the end of June. The NDC has maintained that the new voter register was needless.

In contrast, the  Regional Elections and Research Officer for the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Patrick Acheampong, was content by the close of the first day.

On his part, Regional Electoral Commission Director, Mr Benjamin Bannor Bio, expressed satisfaction, indicating that they didn’t encounter any problems.

The EC is training a total of 42,025 registration officials ahead of the main exercise.

The compilation of the register has generated heated debates as the opposition NDC and 18 civil society organisations protest against the exercise.

Apart from going to court, they have gone on several demonstrations and also petitioned the Asantehene, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II,  to advise the EC to stop the exercise as it was a waste of state resources.

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