THE NATIONAL Democratic Congress(NDC) has dragged the Electoral Commission before the Supreme Court over the electoral management body’s decision to compile a new Voters’ register ahead of the 2020 elections.
The Attorney General is joined to the suit as the 1st Defendant
The NDC has consistently kicked against the decision by the EC to compile a new Voters’ register but the Jean Mensa-led EC has also maintained that it will proceed with its decision.
Many civil society organisations, including IMANI Africa, have also kicked against the decision for a new voters’ register.
The call for a new voters’ roll was made ahead of the 2016 elections by the then opposition NPP, which culminated in a series of demonstrations by the Let My Vote Count Alliance. However, due to financial constraints, the EC failed to heed the call.
After meeting stakeholders over the issue, the EC said a new register would be used for the next general election.
According to the EC, compiling a new voters’ register ahead of the general election is in the best interest of Ghanaians and will save the nation over 170 million Ghana cedis.
The NDC, in a writ invoking the original jurisdiction of the Apex Court, is seeking “A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, 2nd Defendant has the constitutional power to, and can, compile a register of voters only once, and thereafter revise it periodically, as may be determined by law.
“Accordingly, 2nd Defendant can only revise the existing register of voters, and lacks the power to prepare a fresh register of voters, for the conduct of the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections,” the writ stated.
The Plaintiff (NDC) said it brings this action in its capacity as a citizen of Ghana to seek the interpretation and/or enforcement of the provisions of the Constitution under Articles 2(1) (b) and 130(1) (a) thereof.
Among the nine reliefs are “A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, specifically article 51 read conjointly with article 42 of the Constitution, the power of the 2nd Defendant to compile and review the voters’ register must be exercised subject to respect for and the protection of the right to vote;
It is also seeking “ A declaration that, upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Article 42, upon the registration of and issuance of a voter identification card to a person, that person has an accrued right to vote which cannot be divested in an arbitrary and capricious manner;
“ A declaration that, upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Article 42 of the Constitution, all existing voter identification cards duly issued by the 2nd Defendant to registered voters are valid for purposes of identifying such persons in the exercise of their right to vote;
“A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution, specifically Article 42, the 2nd Defendant’s purported amendment of Regulation 1 sub-regulation 3 of the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016 (C.I 91) through the Public Elections (Registration of Voters)(Amendment) Regulations, 2020 to exclude existing voter identification cards as proof of identification to enable a person to apply for registration as a voter is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
The NDC is also asking “A declaration that the 2nd Defendant, in purporting to exercise its powers pursuant to article 51 of the 1992 Constitution to exclude the existing voter identification cards from the documents required as proof of identification to enable a person register as a voter without any justification, is arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and contrary to article 296 of the 1992 Constitution;
“ A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution specifically Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution, proof of identification for registration as a voter should not be limited by the provisions of Public Elections (Registration of Voters) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020;
The plaintiff is seeking “an order directed at the 2nd Defendant to include all existing voter identification cards duly issued by the 2nd Defendant as one of the documents serving as proof of identification for registration as a voter for the purposes of public elections;
“Any other order or orders as this Honorable Court would deem fit in the circumstances.”