EC Can’t Make Ghana Card Sole Citizenship ID For Voters’ Register - Parliament Says

Parliament last Friday rejected the Electoral Commission’s (EC) use of the Ghana card as the sole source of identification for one to be registered in the new voters’ register.

The House unanimously recommended to the commission to include the guarantor system in the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulation, 2023 before it could present it for consideration. 

Legislators were of the view that unless and until the challenges confronting the issuance of the Ghana Card were dealt with, using the Ghana Card as the only medium of voter registration would negatively impact the electoral roll and thereby deny some otherwise qualified persons from registering to vote.

"The EC should tarry slowly until everybody eligible voter is afforded the opportunity to register and procure the Ghana before the legislation of such a compulsion," they said.

Report adoption

The House took the decision after legislators adopted the report of the Committee of the Whole on the draft constitutional instrument.

The report, signed by the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, who is also the Speaker of Parliament, said it was not the time for the EC to introduce and implement the Ghana card as the only means of identification of citizenship for the purposes of voter registration.

The report was presented to the House by the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, who moved the motion for the House to adopt the committee's report.

The reports captured the concerns of MPs from both sides of the House raised during previous meetings by the Special Budget Committee and the Committee of the Whole with the Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa; the Executive Secretary of the NIA Prof. Ken Attafuah, and the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.

It was premised on the fact that the EC could only lay the new C.I. in Parliament for admission and consideration if it gave favourable consideration to the concerns raised by MPs.

Ready to support reforms

The report said MPs, having thoroughly interrogated the issues and reforms being contemplated by the EC, were ready to support any effort that would enable every Ghanaian to get a Ghana Card because it was the law.

It, however, said the legislators would not accept and would reject any effort that was geared towards making the EC use the Ghana Card as the only medium to qualify a person who was eligible to vote in 2024 elections.

That, it said, was premised on the fact that indeed Ghana had come of age and could boast of a credible national identification card (Ghana Card) to transact business with.

“However, even in the face of a number of identification options given in the past, and even in the operation of the NIA, some citizens are unable to register for the national card due to the existence of serious challenges the authority is confronted with,” it said.