NPP requests international audit of new voters' register
Paul Afoko, NPP Chairman
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) is calling for a new voters' register ahead of the 2016 general elections and wants it audited by an international firm.
According to the 30-page electoral reform document to the Electoral Commission, the main opposition party in Ghana argued that the register for the 2012 elections is 'over bloated' and cannot be relied upon for a credible poll next year.
'We agree with now President Mahama and Chairman Afari Gyan's observation in 2008 that a voters' register containing 12,472,758 out of a population of 22,000,000, a registration rate of 56.69% is statistically unacceptable. By extension, we submit that the 56.20% voter population in 2012, for the population of 25,000,000 persons, must equally be unacceptable by world standards,' the document signed by national chairman Paul Afoko and general secretary Kwabena Agyepong said.
It added: 'In the 2010 Census, Ghana's population was stated as 24,658,823 made up as follows:
0-14 years 9,450,398
15-64 years 14,040,893
65 years 1,167,532
Total 24, 658,823
'This means that by the 2012 elections, the people in the 0-14 year category could not be registered to participate in the elections as the highest age for this category in 2012 would have been 16 years. That suggests that the maximum number of potential voters was 15,208,425. In effect, the 13,628,817 and 14,158,890 figures presented by the EC for the voters register represent 89.6% and 93% registration rates for the parliamentary and presidential election respectively.
'It should be noted that if every member of the population who is eligible to vote in any district registers to vote, then the total population less the 0-14 year group would at the maximum equal the voters register (potential registrants). In this case it should not be possible that the voters register plus the 0-14 year group can exceed the population census figure for the district. Any such result would mean a bloated voters register with 'ghosts' registering or could be a case of multiple voters registrations. Either way, the register would not be credible.
'We have found that there are a large number of districts across all regions in Ghana where the register plus the 0-14 year group exceeds 100% (Table 1). This is a statistical impossibility and indicates a bloated register.'
The Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition which petitioned the Supreme Court on grounds of alleged serious infractions during the 2012 elections, but lost, therefore made the following recommendations about the Voters' Register:
1. A new voters register should be created to replace the over bloated 2012 register. We suggest that this register should be created no later than June 2016.
2. The new register that is compiled should be independently audited by an internationally reputable firm before the 2016 election.
3. Copies of the new voters' register should be provided to political parties in both the electronic (csv file) and (pdf file) formats.
4. The new register should be sorted alphabetically by last name and gender.
5. The new Register should clearly delineate voters registered overseas by country and basis for registration (e.g., mission, scholarship, etc).
6. Statistical data supporting the new voters register (i.e. total number of votes, split by gender, polling stations, electoral area, constituency, region and country) should be provided to political parties.
7. Regulation 2(3) of C.I. 72 Public Election (Regulation 2012) - be amended to read as follows 'The Commission shall at least thirty (30) days before the first day of national registration of voters, inform political parties and the general public by publication in the gazette, EC website, on radio, on television or other medium of mass communication of a place it designates as a registration Centre. This shall include overseas registration as well.
8. The Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2012, C.I. 72 be amended to ensure that political parties receive copies of the final register of voters based on which the EC will be conducting the General Elections at least ninety (90) days before the conduct of the elections.
9. Regulations 1(3) (d) of C. I. 72 Registration of voters) be amended to exclude the National Health Insurance (NHIA) card pursuant to the Supreme Court's judgment on the issue.
10. Regulation 1(4) be amended to read that a registered voter cannot guarantee more than two (2) potential registrants. Copies of such registrations should be made available to the political parties and should also be accessible by the general public.