The Upper East Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, William Obeng Adarkwa, has cautioned electorates who have already registered to desist from registering again.
He pointed out that double registration was a criminal offence which is punishable by law.
He issued the warning on the heels of the ongoing nationwide Limited Voter Registration exercise during an interview with this reporter.
Mr. Adarkwa warned that the exercise is meant for persons who have just turned 18 years old.
“The exercise is for those who have just turned 18,” he pointed.
He further emphasised that it was for those who for one reason or the other, had never registered with them.
“It is meant for people who for one reason or the other have never registered with the Electoral Commission as far as voter registration is concerned,” he added.
He further warned that persons who have already registered would be exposed by the system if they tried to register again.
“If you have ever registered and you get the temptation that you will try and outsmart the system, you will be found out,” he warned.
He added that culprits stood the risk of being prosecuted and consequently jailed.
“When you are found out you could be prosecuted by the police and even jailed on that score,” he said.
The director also cautioned registered voters who had changed their location, not to reregister.
“A lot of people have changed location and would be tempted to say ‘I’m not going back to my old location, therefore let me go back to my new place of residence. It’s wrong. Once you have registered anywhere in Ghana, that’s all,” he explained.
He assured that they had an impending provision for such a category of people called ‘Transfer of Votes’.
“We are going to be doing what we call transfer of votes, so if you are one such person who had migrated from point A to point Z, your responsibility is to walk to the same district office where you went for registration.
“Tell them you want to transfer your vote from your original point of registration and they will help you with the process,” he added.
He indicated that there were also plans to give those who have lost their ID cards the opportunity to replace them.
” ..And those who have also misplaced their ID cards, very soon the Commission will also let them know what to do by going to the same district office and replacing the ID card”.
He called on the general public not to panic, as everything was in place for the smooth execution of the exercise.
“Nobody should panic. This exercise is meant for 21 solid days. We are ready in terms of material and training of personnel,” he assured.
Mr. Adarkwa, however, added that they had a little challenge with the telephony which he explained gathered their data before it got into the system in Accra.
He attributed the challenge to wave and environmental conditions which impeded connection.
“It is about waves and the environmental conditions that impede on connectivity and all that,” he observed.
He quickly added that anytime that happened, they quickly switched to online registration, so that no one would be left out.
He therefore called on the general public to cooperate and exercise the needed patience when they happen to experience that in the course of the exercise.
“If you get to a centre and they explain all these matters to you and tell you to exercise patience, you will have to be a good patriot for them to tell you that now you can come through and complete the process”. He appealed.
The Director also noted that people complained about transport and the distances they had to cover.
” We know the challenge people complain about transport and the distance they have to cover, but obviously, that is a policy of the Commission “. He pointed.
Until it is changed, nobody can change it or alter it on the field of operation, so l will urge the citizens to bear with us”. He added.
He finally called on all who really want to vote, to avail themselves of a civic responsibility to register despite all odds.
“I will urge the citizens to bear with us. If you really want to register and take part in elections in Ghana, then take it upon yourself as a civic responsibility and then make the effort in our offices and you will be registered accordingly,” he concluded.
Source: Sarah Dubure, Contributor