Dr. kwadwo Afari Gyan, EC Boss

Latest data from the Electoral Commission (EC) indicates that 2,864 people have registered more than 8,000 times in the soon-to-be-completed biometric voters’ registration exercise.

The statistics on the fraudulent practice, popularly referred to as ‘double registration’, cover data collated by the EC from about 229 districts across the 10 regions in the country. The figure indicates an average of three registrations per culprit.

Double or multiple registration is a serious electoral offense that attracts very strict punitive sanctions.

According to Christian Owusu-Parry, acting director of public affairs for the EC, the names of these culprits would be deleted from the EC database and consequently forwarded to the police for prosecution. “The police have the mandate to arrest and prosecute crime,” he stated in a telephone conversation with DAILY GUIDE.

The EC data shows the Ashanti Region topping the incidence of double registration with approximately 424 cases detected; Brong Ahafo Region follows close on the heels of the Ashanti Region with about 411 cases reported.

Among other top offenders include the Greater Accra Region with 335 cases, while the Volta Region follows with 326 people detected. The Upper West and Upper East regions recorded the least anomalies with 120 and 162 detected respectively.

Since the biometric voters’ registration started more than one month ago, people have deployed all sorts of strategies to take advantage of the process. Politicians have usually been cited for facilitating these acts.

Indeed, double registration is a deliberate ploy to boost numbers of the voters’ register to outwit political opponents at polls.

Political analysts contend that the shady practice has been an age-old phenomenon that has always dogged the electoral process in Ghana. Sometimes, double or multiple registration threatens the credibility of elections because politicians are quick to finger a bloated register for their defeat at the polls.

In a bid to stem the phenomenon and rationalise election results, the EC, in collaboration with all the political parties, agreed to adopt a biometric register that would capture the biometric data of voters, making duplication almost impossible.

However, those who have habitually resorted to manipulating the voters’ register have underrated the ability of biometric data to catch them in the act.

According to the EC, “The Commission wishes to caution the public that the system has the capacity to detect all cases of double or multiple registrations. It further wishes to advise all who are contemplating doing double or multiple registration to desist. All such entries will be deleted from the database and by extension from the register of voters, in addition to whatever penalty a court may prescribe.”

Meanwhile, the EC has deferred registration of prisoners for voting in the December 2012 election till further notice. The EC made this announcement in a press release dated May 3, 2012.  This deferment has dashed the hopes of prisoners dreaming of voting in this year’s election.

“The deferment has become necessary to give the prison authorities’ ample time to resolve issues regarding the true identities of some inmates,” stated the press release.

It is not immediately clear when these issues would be resolved, but the EC says it will make the necessary arrangements to register the prisoners as soon as the matter is resolved.

 By: Raphael Adeniran

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