Friday, April 4, 2014

EC Consultative Forum On The Public Elections Regulations

Mr Augustine Okrah, Director of Training at the Electoral Commission (EC), said yesterday that under the electoral laws of Ghana, anybody whose name is on the biometric voters register used for the 2012  elections, would be committing an offence,  if he re-registers  this year.
Mr Okrah was speaking at a consultative forum on the Public Elections Regulations, Constitutional Instrument (CI 75) organised by the EC, and facilitated by the KAB Governance Consult in Takoradi.
Representative of the political parties, organised labour and the media, participated in the forum.

Mr Okrah said those who infringed the law, could go to jail for two years, and one anticipated major challenge in the limited voter registration in June this year was how to prevent people on the voter register from re-registering.
"You can change your name, even how you look, but you cannot change your biometric information so, persons who register again will be found out", he cautioned.
Mr Okrah said the limited voter registration was intended for persons who have turned 18 years since the last registration in 2012, and persons who are older but for one reason of other could not register in 2012.
He said the qualification and registration procedures would be the same as that in 2012.
Mr Okrah said as compared with Presidential and Parliamentary elections, voter turnout in Local Government elections was very low, below 40 per cent most of the time, and this was regrettable because local government was self-government.
He said it was important for the electorate to join hands to canvass for high voter turn-out at the next District Level Elections, in view of the fact that the referendum on the proposed constitutional amendments may be tied to the elections.
Mr Okrah said for the referendum to be valid, the minimum turnout must be 40 per cent of the total number of voters on the national register.
He explained that a candidate for the District Assembly or Unit Committee election must contest the election strictly as an individual, and not as a member of a political party or an organisation or a group.
Mr Okrah said it was, therefore, an offence for a candidate to use the name or symbol of a political organisation or a group, and also the candidate was prohibited from asking for or receiving any form of assistance or help from a political party, an organization or a group.
He said the penalty for this provision was cancellation of nomination or candidacy and a political party that gave support to a candidate was liable to a fine of up to five million cedis.
Mr Okrah said any organisation or group that was interested in and wanted to assist in the conduct of the District Level and Unit Committee elections, must not be affiliated to a political party and even so, it must give its assistance in cash or kind to the EC to organise platforms for the common use of the candidates.
He said unlike the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, the candidate in the District Level Election would not pay a deposit and unlike the previous times, a candidate is not restricted to house-to-house campaigning and can mount a platform.
Mr. Steve Opoku-Mensah, Western Regional Director of EC, said the main law that regulates public election in the country is the Public Elections Regulations, which replaced the Constitutional Instrument (CI 15) of 1996, following the introduction of the Biometric Voter Registration and the use of the Biometric Verification Devices. 
Source: GNA

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