“Yes, we can use the [National Identification Authority’s] data but is the NIA data ready?”
These were the sentiments of Dr Yaw Ofori-Agyei, a consultant at the Electoral Commission on suggestions that the Commission should rely on the NIA’s data for its proposed new voters’ register.
In an engagement with journalists in Accra on Thursday, Dr Ofori-Agyei said the process of compiling a register is “painstaking” and the EC would be delighted if the NIA can take the burden off them.
The NIA, however, has not finished its registration process so relying on their data is not feasible, a deputy Chairperson of the EC, Dr Eric Bossman has noted.
That notwithstanding, the EC still needs to compile a new voters’ register for the December 2020 general elections since the current one is not fit for purpose, the EC has argued.
The new register is expected to have enhanced biometric features and also an added layer of security in facial recognition.
The EC has also argued most of the biometric devices in the current electoral system are burnt out, necessitating the compilation of a new register.
However, some opposition parties are suspicious of the EC.
The biggest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress has argued the EC wants to connive with the government to stymie eligible voters in NDC strongholds from registering.
The NDC and other like-minded opposition parties have staged a protest march in Tamale, Northern Region to register their opposition to the proposed new register.
They are expected to replicate the same in other parts of the country.
Also, some 15 civil society organisations have also joined the cry for the EC to abandon its plans for a new register.
In a statement, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), IMANI, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and others among other recommendations, said the EC should “update the existing software in ways to make it more efficient.”
Compiling a new register, they said would be a “wasteful duplication of efforts at great expense.”