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18.11.2008 Elections

EC expunges 500,000 names from voters' register

By The Chronicle
EC expunges 500,000 names from voters' register

The Director in charge of elections at the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, has disclosed that his outfit has so far removed as many as 500,000 names from the voters' register.

Speaking in an interview with TV 3 in Accra over the weekend, Mr. Arhin said the names included the dead, minors and those who had done double registration.

He said some minors who had registered as votes, were led to the EC offices by their parents to have their names removed from the register.

Adults, who had done double registrations, also came forward voluntarily to have one of their names deleted. This followed assurances that they would not be prosecuted if they came forward to assist the EC clean the register.

According to him, the EC was doing everything possible to ensure free and fair elections, and dismissed allegations that the elections would be rigged.

He said apart from the representatives of the political parties at the polling stations, and observers who would be going round to ensure that nobody tried to cheat, his outfit would also make sure that the indelible ink was properly applied on the fingers of the voters.

Arhin also repeated the position of the EC, that security men, who would be posted to man the polling stations, would not have any direct role to play in the conduct of the elections.

He said the Presiding Officer would have full control and that the security men would have to take instructions from them should anyone try to misbehave.

The Director of Elections also said National Security had given them the firm assurance, that there would be a standby patrol team to respond quickly to any emergency situation.

When asked as to whether minors should be allowed to vote if they have their names in the register, Arhin explained that, that should be at the discretion of the Presiding Officer. He, however, said if he, as a director, comes across a four-year-old voter during his rounds, he would never allow him or her to vote, even though the minor may have his name in the register.

According to him, he had taken such an action before, during one of the general elections, and would not hesitate to repeat it, should he come across a minor voting.

He noted that one of the means to verify the actual age of a minor, who claims to be of voting age, is the register being used by the local school he or she was attending.

He said since all pupils had their names and ages recorded in the schools registers, those challenging the voter's age could fall on the local head of his or her school for succour. He said this was the strategy he used to verify the minor voter he stopped in one of the elections.