The Director of Election Services of the Electoral Commission (EC) has conceded that the old voters register can be used if the Coronavirus pandemic compels the Commission to do so.
Dr. Serebour Quaicoe, who was speaking on Joy FM’s flagship programme, News File, said “If our hands are tied and we have no other option, we can use the old register with validation and the limited registration.”
He, however, explained that, both scenarios (old or new register) would flout the social distancing rule instituted as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Whether new or old register, there is no way you can avoid human contact,” he reaffirmed.
“Using the old register would require validation and limited registration of persons who have turned 18 and this would bring about human contact,” he insisted, adding that, the social distancing rule would still be flouted.
With this reason, he maintained that the new register was the best option left for the Commission to conduct the December 7 General Elections.
“We have done a lot of research and I believe that the best shot is to have a new register,” he pointed out.
When the host, Sampson Lardi Ayennini reminded him of the fact that, the same register was used for the last District level election that got assembly men and women elected, he opined that, the EC is careful not to trigger any legal action during the December elections.
Dr. Serebour stated that, the District level elections weren’t of much importance as the general elections and considering the fact that, all the general elections in Ghana had been contested one way or another, the Commission wouldn’t take the risk that could trigger possible legal issues.
Dr Ernest Abotsi, a former Dean of the GIMPA Law School, a panelist on the rogramme, reminded him of reports that Africa would be the next epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic, thus the need to preserve lives. He advised the EC to take preventive steps to preserve lives.
The EC has been insisting on using a new register instead of fine-tuning the current one for the December 7 general elections, in spite of protests from some civil society Organizations and political parties.
With the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the limited time available for the EC in view of the lockdown and constitutional requirements, the EC is being prevailed upon to reconsider its stance to avoid a constitutional crisis.
Dr. Serebour Quarcoe’s statement appears to be a backing down on the EC’s adamant decision and could pave way for a new direction in the conduct of the December 7 elections.