The Electoral Commission (EC) has said it will not extend the deadline for the re-registration exercise despite revealing that only 24, 287 of the deleted NHIS registrants, were re-registered during the 10-day exercise, as part of the voters’ register exhibition exercise.
The EC has explained that there is no indication that an extension would ensure more people are re-registered. Addressing the media today [Friday], the EC’s Communications Director, Eric Dzakpasu, stated that “there is no evidence that when an extension is granted, the remaining people will come out of their houses or communities to get their name re-registered.” –
“In the considered opinion of the commission, the registration exercise could not be extended,” he added.
Time needed to process data
Mr. Dzakpasu further explained that, the EC is “required by law to exhibit the provisional register of the persons re-registered” and it would need time to process the data captured hence the non-extension of the re-registration period.
“It necessarily follows that the data captured must be processed. This means we would require some time to be able to do that in order to be in the position to exhibit the provisional register for the registrants from the fifth to eight August 2016 as agreed at the IPAC.”
Low publicity not to blame
Mr. Dzakpasu also insisted that the turn out of the exercise should not be blamed on the low publicity.
“The obvious turn out of this exercise cannot be blamed on low publicity and inadequate public education… This is one electoral activity that has made news and has been trending in the news for a very long time.”
“It cannot be the case that the low turnout was caused by low publicity. The message was well disseminated. If people actually wanted to get registered, they could have done so with the 10 days.”
The EC had publicly expressed fears that most of the deleted registrants could be disenfranchised if the situation did not improve after it revealed out of the 56,762 names deleted, only 14,801 had re-registered.”
The EC’s admission would appear to justify calls made for an extension of the 10-day re-registration exercise.
On Tuesday, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ashanti Region, raised concerns with the low registration rate and called on the EC to extend the period of re-registration after it indicated that 14,801 had re-registered as of Monday.
The NPP blamed this on the perceived poor publicity of the re-registration on the EC’s part, and it wants the re-registration to run concurrently with the 21 day exhibition exercise which the EC has sought to debunk.
According to them, “the EC never came out to give education on the time frame because when they announced that they were going to do the exhibition, they said 21 days.”
EC petitioned to extend re-registration
The Member of Parliament for the Efutu Constituency in the Central Region, Alex Afenyo Markin, also petitioned the Commission to extend the window of re-registration for NHIS card registrants by 10 days.
The MP lamented that the exercise in his constituency has been fraught with power and logistical challenges which have prevented the EC from capturing as many names as possible.