The Electoral Commission (EC) has defended its decision to commence the voter registration exercise in various Senior High Schools (SHS) in the country.
The EC has scheduled to register SHS students on Friday and Saturday.
According to the electoral management body, the decision stems from its commitment to ensuring that eligible SHS students are not disenfranchised.
Contrary to concerns raised over the legal basis for the arrangement, Director of Electoral Services at the EC, Dr. Serebour Quaicoe says the schools without registration centres will be matched to the current registration centres that have been gazetted for the exercise.
He clarified that the Commission at the time of creating the centres excluded the possibility of the reopening of schools.
He said it has however become necessary to take a decision to register the students at their premises following the existing COVID-19 restrictions that prohibit SHS students from moving out of their school premises for any other activity.
“As you are all aware, the registration centres have been gazetted and so we are registering folks and assigning them to such registration centres. We know that some senior high schools serve as registration centres so they are part of the movement plan in phases. We received information from the GES that the students are not supposed to go outside of campus.”
“So the Commission decided that we will use our mobile team to capture them. Once they are captured, they will be assigned to centres that would have registered them had it not been for the restrictions. So we met with political parties and informed them that we are going to register and assign them to the polling centres which serve such schools,” he added in an interview on Eyewitness News.
The development comes after some members of the public raised concerns about the exclusion of SHS students from the ongoing voter registration exercise.
It had been argued that with most of the students camped in their various schools and a rule for all students to remain within the school premises and no visitor entertained, eligible students may be disenfranchised.
On issues regarding the due diligence done with the arrangement, Dr. Quaioce said concerns to discredit the legal grounds of the decision are misplaced.
“The Commission holds a different view because we are registering them and assigning them to the registration centres that have been gazetted so we hold a different view,” he added.
NDC questions EC’s decision
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has raised concerns about the Electoral Commission’s (EC) move to register Senior High School students in schools without registration centres.
Deputy General Secretary of the party, Peter Boamah Otokunor says these newly created centres have not been gazetted to allow for their use in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
In an interview on Eyewitness News, Mr. Boamah Otokunor insisted that the plan was illegal.
“So this exercise they are going to have is not only illegal, it is unacceptable and unethical especially considering the fact they EC waits to do all they want to do and call political parties to inform them a day before the exercise. Now we have the EC, unethically and unacceptably do their thing and say they are going to do registration all secondary schools be it as illegal as it is. This is most unacceptable, bizarre and must be resisted by all well-meaning Ghanian”, he added.