Kofi Bentil, Senior Vice President of IMANI Africa, has expressed concerns that the Electoral Commission (EC) may disenfranchise some Ghanaian citizens if it insists on using the Ghana Card as the sole document for voter registration.
Bentil believes that citizens without the Ghana Card should not be excluded from the voting process, and the EC should make other constitutionally acceptable means of identification available to them.
In a myjoyonline.com report, he explained that not having the Ghana Card is not the fault of the citizens, as there are still many cards held up in a warehouse somewhere.
“There seems to be an arrangement by which people will be disenfranchised if they do not have the Ghana card. People will be disenfranchised if they do not have a Ghana card.
“Not having the Ghana card is not of their doing. You’ve heard about how many cards are held up in a warehouse somewhere,” he said.
Bentil noted that the law provides a fundamental qualification for voting, and while the Ghana Card does not satisfy this qualification, citizens should not be excluded from the voting process if they do not possess one.
He warned that if any citizen is disenfranchised due to not having the Ghana Card, they may seek legal action against the EC, which could lead to the electoral body losing the case.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa, clarified that the Ghana Card will not be required to vote in the 2024 general election but will only be used as an identification document for registering qualified voters.
“The Ghana Card will not be used for voting in the 2024 election. The Ghana Card is only a required document to register as a voter. Once you present your Card and successfully register as a voter, you would be issued a voter’s identification card which bears the code of your region, your district, your electoral area and the name of your polling station.
“The Card does not have these features and therefore it will not be used to vote in the 2024 general election,” she disclosed.
However, the Minority caucus in Parliament disagrees with this approach, stating that the Ghana Card is not accessible to everyone and cannot be the sole document required for registering voters.
The National Identification Authority (NIA) has stated that a majority of about 17 million Ghanaians have been provided with the Ghana Card, and the rest could be served within six months.
Experts have called for the use of other authorized documents, as some doubt the possibility of serving everyone before the election.