EC downplays calls to halt voter registration over COVID-19 spike  

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Some potential registrants observing social distancing at a polling centre

The Electoral Commission (EC) has downplayed calls for the suspension of the ongoing voter registration exercise due to the incidence of non-adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

According to the Acting Director of Public Affairs at the EC, Sylvia Annoh, “the Commission has no intention of stopping the process of registration.”

This is despite of some medical observers warning of the downside of continuing with the registration, which has just entered its second week.

Calls

Some health professionals in the country wrote to the EC asking it to halt the exercise until safer ways of conducting the exercise are put in place.

The founder of the Progressive People’s Party, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, also urged the government to prioritise the health of citizens over the need to conduct elections.

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This is because of the blatant lack of social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols observed at some registration centres.

The EC spokespersons acknowledged some of the concerns, but assured that enough is being done to safeguard the registration centres.

“We are not saying that when you get to the registration centre, there is nothing wrong with what is happening. The Commission is making a conscious effort to ensure that the safety protocols are adhered to.”

She further insisted that in “most of our registration centres, the safety protocols are being adhered to.”

Queue management system

The EC in a statement on Monday disclosed that it had initiated “a queue management system” at its registration centres to prevent overcrowding and the breach of anti -COVID-19 social distancing rules by anxious applicants seeking to acquire their voters’ identification card.

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The EC explained that under the queue management system, the first 150 applicants who arrive at the registration centres would be provided with numbered chits.

The first half of this number, it said, would be served from morning to early afternoon, while the second half would be asked to leave the centres and return in the afternoon when the registration of the first batch would have been completed.

The statement said it would continue to review and improve upon the processes to ensure citizens register in a safe and secure environment.

“The Commission believes that this system will go a long way towards reducing overcrowding and long queues and help with the enforcement of social distancing protocols at the centres,” it said.

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The statement reiterated that the Commission would ensure that citizens who are qualified are afforded the opportunity to register and cast their votes.

“We encourage constructive feedback from the general public, which is aimed at improving the Registration Exercise, which is already in motion,” it said.

 

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