While members of the Inter-Party Resistance Against the New Voters’ Register (IPRAN), a group of opposition political parties led by the National Democratic Congress, continue their protest against the decision by the Electoral Commission (EC) to compile new electoral roll, it has emerged that majority of Ghanaians are on the side of the commission to compile a new register.
A study conducted by the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana found that about 65 per cent of Ghanaians want the EC to compile a new voters’ register.
The survey report, a copy of which is in the possession of the Evening Mail, suggests that a total of 27,500 Ghanaians, from all the 275 constituencies across the 16 regions in the country, responded to the survey question.
The people were questioned on “whether the Electoral Commission should compile a new voter register or retain the old.”
Out of the total number, 17,843, representing 64.9 per cent answered “Yes” to the question, while 9,654, representing 35.1 per cent said “No”.
The Upper East, Upper West, Ashanti, Oti and Ahafo regions had the highest number of respondents, above 70 per cent, calling for the new register, while the Western, Central, Greater Accra and the Volta regions had the smaller number of respondents, less than 60 per cent, saying “yes” to the new register.
Dr Isaac Owusu Mensah, of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, confirmed the report to the Evening Mail yesterday.
He indicated that the study was conducted between December 5 and 24 2019 before the recent agitation, led the opposition National Democratic Congress. He said the survey was part of a wider research conducted to find out about the performance of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs).
The reasons for the support of the new register, according to the respondents, are that it will ensure credibility (37.5 per cent) of the December elections by ensuring that names of deceased (19.5 per cent) and non-citizens (15.9 per cent) are detected and removed.
Others also indicated that a new register will prevent inter-party conflict (1.9 per cent), electoral violence (2.3 per cent) and disputes over electoral results (3.1 per cent).
The rest said a new voter register will enhance the activities of the EC (11.3 per cent), with some 8.5 per cent saying it will be an avenue for people to replace lost ID cards.
On the other hand, majority of the respondents (28. 27 per cent) who said “No” to a new register indicated that compiling a new register will be a waste of resources. Others said a new register will give the incumbent advantage over the opposition; will de-franchise already-registered Ghanaian voters (1.01 per cent); will increase electoral violence (1.04 per cent); or will allow foreigners to register (0.70 per cent).
However, about 1.28 per cent suggested that the new register should be done after the 2020 census.
Meanwhile, members of IPRAN yesterday embarked on their usual demonstration against the new register in Accra.
The group, as part of the protest, presented petitions to Jubilee House and the EC.
The protestors were stopped by police at a barricade around the entrance of the seat of the presidency, but reportedly forced their way through, pushing down a barricade that had been erected in front of Jubilee House.
Their petition was presented by the PNC’s national chairman, Bernard Mornah; the NDC national chairman and general secretary, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo and Johnson Asiedu Nketia, respectively, and received by Kwaku Afriyie, a Minister of State at the Presidency.