Dr. Afari-Gyan (right) at the forum (2)

Dr. Afari Gyan (right) with Amadu Sulley at the forum yesterday

The Electoral Commission (EC) has announced that it will not create new electoral areas for the 2016 general elections.

Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of EC, who disclosed this at a consultative forum on voter registration in Accra, said the Commission would create more polling stations to augment the existing ones.

The EC in 2012 created 45 new constituencies, increasing the total number of parliamentary areas to 275.

Speaking on the theme, ?Deepening Public Confidence in Ghana?s Elections,? he said the procedure for registering eligible voters would not change, stating that the Commission would adhere to the stipulated guidelines stated in CI 72.

Dr. Afari-Gyan warned against multiple registrations, saying anybody caught registering more than once would be punished.

?Those who registered in 2012 should not attempt to register again because it will be an offence. Registered persons will have the chance to check their names during exhibition of the voter?s register.

Only those who have not been registered but are above 18 years and are of sound mind would be allowed to register, Dr. Afari-Gyan said.

He said there would not be proxy registration.

Dr. Afari-Gyan said the 2012 registration exercise was faced with many challenges because of the introduction of the biometric registration.

He cited the breakdown of some of the biometric equipment, lack of adequate form 1A for applicants to thump print and inability of some data clerks to locate some districts as some of the challenges.

Dr. Afari-Gyan said some registration centers could not start in time due to transporting errors, adding that some ?macho? men also took the law into their own hands and invaded the centers, making the work of the EC operatives very difficult.

He said the Commission has taken note of the challenges and would ensure that some of them were addressed before the next registration exercise.

However Dr. Afari-Gyan said ?there will always be some challenges but adequate measures have been put in place to deal with some of them.?

Amadu Sulley, Deputy Chairman, EC, who gave some statistics on the 2012 registration exercise said, ?At the end of the registration, we had about 14 million registered voters on our register which was used for the 2012 general elections?.

He said hard and soft copies of the register were made available to all registered political parties.

Mr. Sulley said the figure is statistically acceptable considering the fact that Ghanaians who are 18 years and above were 13.6 million as at 2012, with an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent per annum.

The region with the highest number of registered voters, he said, was Greater Accra, followed by Ashanti with Upper West being the lowest.

?Ensuring accurate, reliable and all inclusive voters register is a collective responsibility. It should not be left only for the EC, all stakeholders should play their roles very well,? Mr. Amadu said.

The consultative forum was attended by representatives of all the political parties.

By Cephas Larbi

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