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Mahama Ayariga Backs EC’s Plan to Allow Voters to Use Ghana Cards

Mahama Ayariga Supports EC – To Use Ghana Card For Voting

Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, has backed the Electoral Commission’s (EC) decision to use the Ghana Card as the exclusive form of identity for voter registration prior to the 2024 elections.

He contends that voters in Ghana should use the Ghana Card in place of the voter ID card.

A proposed C.I. titled “Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2021” that is likely to govern ongoing voter registration was presented to Parliament by the EC in July.

According to the new C.I., the EC wants to make the Ghana Card the only form of identification accepted for qualified voters who wish to register to vote.

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The Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation Committee has been tasked with handling the C.I. By custom, a minority group member serves as the committee’s chair.

This is in opposition to the National Democratic Congress (NDC), his political party, which has warned that it will fight any attempt by the EC to utilize the Ghana Card as the exclusive form of identity for voter registration prior to the 2024 elections.

The NDC claims that such a choice will disenfranchise many eligible Ghanaians.

The National Chairman of the NDC, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, issued a statement on behalf of the party declaring that it will oppose any attempt by the panel to move on with its plan.

“The party wishes to use this opportunity to remind the Electoral Commission that every Ghanaian who is eighteen years of age or older and of sound mind is allowed to register as a voter for the purposes of elections under Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution. The party underlined that the ability to register and use a franchise is an unalienable right that should not be denied to citizens who are eligible to do so.

The party added that it wouldn’t stand by while the incumbent NPP tainted the 2024 elections with the Electoral Commission.

“We want to reassure Ghanaians that the NDC won’t watch while the NPP government conspires with the Electoral Commission to rig the 2024 elections and subject the country to further suffering and hardship. In order to prevent them from losing their rights, we are requesting that our angry supporters maintain their composure, the statement said.

However, Mr. Ayariga suggested that it would be wiser to cast your ballot via the Ghana Card.

He stated, “The law doesn’t say we can’t replace it [the voting card].” We may amend it such that if you have a Ghana Card, the Electoral Commission should recognize it for voting reasons since the Electoral Commission would require the same information that you would be required to provide to obtain a Ghana Card.

I personally don’t object to suggesting that if you have a Ghana Card, all you need to do is go to the polls, present it to the EC, and cast your ballot.

The MP was adamant that Ghanaians’ lives would be made easier by using the Ghana Card when he spoke on Citi TV.

He questioned, “Why should I fight to get a Ghana Card and then fight to get a voter ID Card?”

Mr. Ayariga added that in order to guarantee that everyone receives a Ghana Card, the EC should collaborate with the National Identification Authority.

“They cannot demand that I obtain a Ghana Card before obtaining a voter identification card. This isn’t constitutionally correct, in my opinion,” he said.

According to Dr. Serebour Quaicoe, director of electoral services at the Voters Commission, the introduction of the Ghana Card will strengthen the electoral register and lessen the mistrust that has frequently characterized elections in the nation.

Dr. Quaicoe stated on Joy FM’s news analysis and current affairs program “News File” on Saturday that while Article 42 of the Constitution clearly states that a person must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible to vote as a Ghanaian, only the Ghana Card, as an identity, will be able to establish that.

According to Article 42 of the Constitution, voters must be at least 18 years old, citizens of Ghana, and of sound mind. I think it is against our own rules for the Electoral Commission to take any action that would stop people from casting their votes.

“Keep in mind that the legislation states that you must be a Ghanaian and at least 18 years old, but how do we prove that? Do we advocate registering everyone who claims to be 18 years old and a Ghanaian? We consequently think that all of these charges, particularly between the two main political parties, will end,” Dr. Quaicoe continued.

According to him, if the nation had a single form of identity, the confusion surrounding the 2020 elections and previous ones as well as allegations that political parties registered children and foreigners might all have been avoided.

He went on to say that in order to avoid the repetition and mistrust that have frequently marked party elections in the past, sometimes resulting in people losing their lives during elections, the Electoral Commission must continuously update its activities to suit changes that may arise in the interest of Ghanaians.

BY Ebenezer Amponsah and Vincent Kubi

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