17.07.2006 Politics

Accra Residents Blame EC For Low Patronage Of Exhibition Of Voters' Register

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The Electoral Commission (EC) has been blamed for poor patronage of the just ended exhibition of the Voters Register. The seven-day exhibition of the Voters' Register, which begun on Monday, July 10 ended on Sunday July 16 with some Registration Officials and residents in Accra, accusing the EC of causing financial loss to the State.

The exercise intended to enable registered voters to crosscheck their details and where necessary, ask officials to effect corrections, was hit with poor awareness campaign to usher in the exercise.

Ghana News Agency observation during the seven-day period indicated that most voters lack information on location of exhibition centres, the purpose of the exhibition and related issues.

"The EC failed to provide us with the modalities and opportunity to publicly scrutinize the provisional register, Mr. Eric Bortey 56 years of New Gbawe told the GNA during monitoring on the last day of the exercise.

It was also observed that there were cases of missing identity cards; wrong spelling of names and duplication of photographs on the register as some of the problems encountered on the first day of the exercise.

Mr. Bortey accused both the EC and various political parties for failing to live up to their constitutional obligations, "the two bodies did not take the exhibition exercise very seriously."

He explained that representatives of political parties, EC as well as the Media failed to play their critical roles, which would have ensured that the exhibition was successful.

Mrs Doreen Asante, a Clinical Physiologist said: "I can stick out my neck and say that all of us in one way or the other contributed to the low patronage and I appeal to all political parties and their representatives as well as the Media to know that, together we can also ensure the preparation of a clean register acceptable to all."

Mr. Joseph Augustus Mensah, an Exhibition Assistance at Oblogo District Primary School in the Weija Constituency said the total turn-out was below 20 per cent.

The Centre, which covers over nine polling stations had a total voter population of 7,491 but had only 467 voters checking their details during the exercise.

He explained that during the Provisional Registration in May this year, about 375 people registered out of this figure only 40 checked their details.

Mr. Mensah also expressed concern about the poor publicity and the clustering of polling stations.

The situation at New Life Fellowship Institute at New Gbawe was not different, as the 16 Polling Stations for the centre had all recorded less than 30 percent of total number of registered voters.

Mr Dameson Danquah Weija Constituency, Returning Officer also confirmed the low patronage within the constituency.

He attributed the low patronage on electoral fatigue and general apathy towards elections.

The EC exhibited the Provisional Voters Register from Monday, July 10 and Sunday, July 16 at 5,000 designated electoral registration centres. The exhibition was from 0700 hours to 1800 hours daily.

The exhibition exercise was to offer potential registered voters the opportunity to ascertain whether the particulars on their voters' ID cards corresponded to the details in the register.

The voters could also use the exhibition exercise to make claims for correction of any error in their particulars. Those whose names had been omitted could make claims for their names to be included in the register, by showing evidence of their registration, Mr Arhin stated.

The exhibition also afford people the opportunity to challenge the inclusion of the name of any person if they had valid reasons to believe that he or she was not qualified to register as a voter.

It would also offer political parties the opportunity to undertake public inspection of the list. The Register was exhibited at the 5,000 centres where the recent registration took place for voters to make sure that their names were on the roll.

The main activities at the exhibition centres were the corrections of names and other personal data. Registered voters whose names did not appear on the voters' register must request for their inclusion.

The exhibition process was meant to create a credible and dependable register that would form the basis for the acceptance of election results and prevent disharmony in the social and political affairs of Ghana.

Other exhibition centres visited were in the Okaikoi South District, Ashiedu Keteke Sub-Metropolitan

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