It is a pleasure to welcome you all to today’s “Let the Citizen Know”. This is the sixth in the series and we intend to continue to engage with the citizenry through you our media partners until we draw the curtain on election 2020. We thank the Good Lord for how far he has brought us. It has been a long journey and we are grateful for his mercies and faithfulness. This morning presentation will focus on 10 key areas, namely:
We are pleased to report that the registration process is proceeding well. We are currently on the last but one phase, that is Phase 5. We have one more phase i.e. phase 6 before we proceed to carry out a three-day Mop Up exercise. In selected centers nationwide the information from our officers is that the number of applicants who are presenting themselves for registration is dwindling in some Registration Centers. Therefore, The Commission may not undertake a blanket Mop-Up exercise in all Registration Centers. The Mop-Up exercise will be done on need-basis and we will rely on information from our field officers and our staff on deciding on Centers which will benefit from the Mop Up exercise. By and large the Mop-Up exercise will focus on areas and Centers which still have a good number of citizens who were unable to participate in the main exercise. We are pleased to note that the introduction of the mobile registration teams has greatly reduced the heavy concentration of persons at some Registration Centers, particularly in densely populated communities. The Commission has put in place stand by mobile teams throughout the country who swiftly step in to assist with registrations in densely populated/overcrowded areas. This mechanism has helped to reduce the large crowds and has enabled The Commission to maintain the social distancing protocols.
The Performance of Field Officials and Biometric Voter Registration Kits
We are happy to report that our field officials continue to remain focused and dedicated to duty. This has contributed to the high numbers of registrants we witness on a daily basis. It is pleasing to note that on average, each data entry clerk is registering 150 persons per day, per kit as opposed to past registrations where we averaged 70 persons per day. Having operated our registration kits for a few weeks, it is gratifying to note that a good number of the registration officials are now able to register up to 280 persons per day per kit. This means that in some place, officers are are using a little under 6 minutes to register one person. On behalf of the commission, we take this opportunity to commend them for the good work they are doing for God and country. We continue to receive positive testimonies of applicant’s experiences at the Registration Centers and the swiftness of the process. This is a testament to the efficiency of the kits and the professionalism of our officials. However, we have also received some uncomplimentary reports of a few officials who misconduct themselves and flout the laid down policies of the commission. As we have emphasized time and time again, The Commission will not shield any staff who violate the laid down procedures and rules. Over the last few weeks we have had to lay off a few field officials who have misconducted themselves. Our goal is to ensure that every citizen has the best experience at our Registration Centers across the country and where there is evidence that staff operate to the contrary, The Commission has not hesitated to replace them.
It is gratifying to note that our Biometric Registration Kits are functioning effectively. For the record, The Commission procured 8,530 Biometric Kits for the Exercise. All the kits have been deployed into the field and our district offices. Indeed, the robustness of the kits account for the high numbers we are witnessing. Our officials report on the accuracy of the scanners in capturing high quality fingerprints of applicants. Together with the facial recognition feature, we should witness a reduction in the use of manual verification come December 7th 2020.
Covid-19 Protocols Instituted by The Commission
The stringent Covid-19 protocols instituted at all our Registration Centers are still firmly in place. We continue to rehash the importance of enforcing the wearing of masks, the checking of temperatures, the washing of hands, and the wiping of scanners among others. It is important to highlight that The Commission has procured an adequate supply of materials, ranging from sanitizers, to thermometer guns, liquid soaps, tissues, wipes etc. Additionally, our officials have been adequately trained and oriented to follow the safety protocols. Whilst in most of our Centers these protocols are being adhered to, we have received disturbing reports of Centers where our officials are not enforcing the safety protocols. The Commission has had to lay off staff for their non-adherence to the laid down policies. The Commission attaches great importance to the safety of citizens and will stop at nothing to ensure that every Ghanaian registers in a safe and secure environment. From the reports we are receiving, the experiences of many Ghanaians at the Registration Centers have been positive.
Security at our Registration Centers- As we emphasized at the last “Let the Citizen know” encounter, The Commission continues to work closely with the Security Agencies to ensure the safety and security of citizens at our Registration Centers. We remain in close contact with the Security Agencies at all levels – national, regional and district levels and share important information that we pick up from the field. The mechanism through which this is being done, that is the Election Security Task Force, has worked very well, with rare exceptions. We encourage citizens to be law abiding and urge them to use the various mechanisms and processes laid out by the EC to register their grievances and concerns. We assure citizens that the mechanisms we have put in place work, and it is important therefore that they apply them and not take the law into their own hands.
Number of Persons Registered at The End of Phase 4 and as at Today.
We now come to the number of persons registered nationwide at the end of the fourth phase. As at Friday the 24th of July, the total number of registered voters stood at 11,629,480 – 11 million 629 thousand 480 persons registered. At the end of the fourth phase the Greater Accra Region had the highest number of registrants; totaling 2 million 615 thousand and 925 people (2,615,925). The Ashanti Region came second with a total of 2 million 89 thousand and 923 people (2,089,923) and the Eastern Region came third with a total of 1 million 84 thousand and 734 people (1,084,734). After this we had the Central Region with 1 million 74 thousand 519 (1,074,519) people, the Western Region with 734 thousand 545 (734,545) people, the Northern Region with 687 thousand 123 people (687,123), the Volta Region with 660 thousand 508 (660,508) people, the Bono Region with 460 thousand 226 people (460,226), the Upper East Region with 409 thousand 825 people (409,825), the Bono East Region with 391 thousand 777 people (391,777), the Western North Region had 300 thousand 15 people (300,015), the Upper West Region 299 thousand 480 people (299,480), the Oti Region with 226 thousand 109 people (226,109), the Ahafo Region with 212 thousand 670 people (212,670), the Savannah Region with 195 thousand 126 people (195,126), and finally the North East Region with 186 thousand 975 people (186,975). As at yesterday, Sunday the 26th of July a total number of 12 million 371 thousand 651 persons (12,371,651) had been successfully registered. This represents 82.5% of our expected target of 15 million.
|Regions||Total Registered at the end of Phase 4|
Persons with Disabilities
We are pleased to note that the registration process has been inclusive and has attracted a good number of persons with disabilities. At the end of the fourth phase, 46 thousand 237 (46,237) persons with disabilities had successfully gone through the registration process – this represents 0.40% of the total number registered. These figures are very encouraging, and this is an indication of the unwavering interest that citizens have in who manages the reigns of leadership (of our dear country).
We have however received reports that a few persons with disabilities who visited the Registration Centers in the field, were not always given priority, as emphasized at our training programs. Here I am referring particularly to persons with hearing and speech disabilities. The Commission apologizes for this breach in procedure and will ensure that going forward, priority is given to all persons with disabilities who visit our Registration Centers. We would however like to encourage persons with disabilities to take advantage of arrangements that have been put in place at the district office. We assure them that their experience at the district office will be all together positive.
In terms of Gender, we have seen more women registering in this exercise than men. Whilst this is not surprising, the gap is quite wide. To date we have a total of 6 million 100 thousand 440 women (6,100,440) as against 5 million 528 thousand 970 men (5,528,970) who have registered. Women make up 52.5% of registered citizens so far, compared to men who make up 47.5%.
We now come to the interesting topic of first-time voters. For the purpose of this registration we classify first time voters as persons who are exactly 18 at the time of registration. It is encouraging to note the enthusiasm of our youth. Generally, those within the 18-20 year have participated actively in this exercise. However, the figures I will share today relate only to persons who are 18 years old at the time of registration. We classify this age group as first-time voters because over the last two years we have had held district level elections and referenda. Therefore, there is a possibility that those above 18 may have voted in those elections. At the end of Phase Four, 480 thousand 851 (480,851) 18-year old’s had registered as voters. This figure represents 4.1% of the register. 419 thousand 530 (419,530) 19-year old’s had also registered. In a nutshell the 18 and 19-year olds make up 7.7% of the register.
Forms of Documentation Presented and Guarantor System
Out of the 11.6 million registered at the end of the Phase Four, 60.32% of citizens used Ghana Cards, 37.73% registered using guarantors and 1.95% registered with their passports
With regards to the Ghana Card, 80% of the population in the Eastern Region presented the Ghana Card. Followed by the Oti Region where 78.4% of applicants presented the Ghana Card. The Western North Region came third, where 74% of applicants presented the Ghana Card. Regarding the use of Guarantors, The Ahafo Region had the highest percentage of guarantors per population – with 57.5% of the population using guarantors, followed by the Bono East Region where 56.8% of the population used guarantors, and the Bono Region where 56.6% of the population used guarantors.
The guarantor system has been embedded in our law to ensure that eligible citizens who do not have a form of documentation are not left out of processes such as the voters registration exercise. As such, for persons who do not have documentation to prove their eligibility, they have the window of physically presenting two guarantors to vouch for them. The Commission is picking up information, to the effect that a number of individuals in our society are offering their services as guarantors for a fee. This is illegal and we call on the Security Agencies present at the Registration Centers to arrest such persons! Guarantors must know the persons who they are guaranteeing for.
In the spirit of inclusiveness and accommodation, The Commission has reduced the age limit for persons who can be served at the district offices to 50 years. Additionally, accommodation has also been made for health workers, particularly front-line workers to register at the District offices. All that is needed is for them to simply present their ID Cards indicating that they are health workers.
Introduction of New Policy on Nominations
The receipt of nominations for presidential and parliamentary candidates for the 2020 election will take place on XX. In view of the Covid-19 Pandemic, The Commission will for the first time make nomination forms available on its website. As such, candidates no longer have to come to The Commission to pick up their nomination forms before filling. They can simply visit our website and download the various forms. This will also help to lighten the burden that candidates have to go through to file. The guidelines for nominations will also be made available on our website. The Commission believes that this initiative will simplify the arduous filing process.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, before we close our curtains to todays “Let the Citizens Know” encounter, we take this opportunity to thank the general public for the constructive feedback that we continue to receive from them. This feedback helps us to improve upon our work and deliver better service to the citizenry. As a listening Commission, our doors remain open and we look forward to receiving your feedback which we will implement as best as we can. Thank you for your attention and God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation Great and Strong.