Ghana’s New Voter Roll Numbers Allay Fears of Disenfranchisement

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Ghana’s new electoral register has marginally more voters than its old roll, allaying fears that many would be disenfranchised after the previous list was scrapped five months before presidential polls.

Ghana’s electoral commission registered almost 17 million voters over 38 days, the agency’s chairman, Jean Adukwei Mensa, told journalists in Accra Wednesday. That exceeded the number of voters in the old roll by about 130,000 people, according to Serebour Quaicoe, a senior official at the commission.

“The electoral commission has largely been able to allay the fears of citizens who thought they will be disenfranchised,” said Kojo Asante, the director of Advocacy and Policy engagement at the Accra-based Center for Democratic Development.

A June 25 Supreme Court ruling paved the way for the West African nation to rebuild the list from scratch. The main opposition, National Democratic Congress, had petitioned the court to stop the exercise or allow the use of existing cards as proof of identity to register for new ones. Its leader, former President John Mahama, later said the decision would leave many disenfranchised ahead of the Dec. 7 vote.

Dead People

The Northern region, from which Mahama hails, gained 16% more voters in the new register than it had in the previous election, according to a regional breakdown from the commission. Only Greater Accra, considered a swing region, saw a bigger rise, with 37% more registrations.

The voters’ roll has been the subject of disagreement in previous elections, with the ruling New Patriotic Party alleging that the list included dead people, as well as foreigners, who aren’t eligible to cast their ballots in the country.

President Nana Akufo-Addo will face Mahama, his predecessor, for a third consecutive time when he seeks to renew his mandate at the polls. Their two parties have dominated Ghanaian politics since 1992.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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