Ghana Opposition Says New Voter Registry Necessary for 2016

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Ghana’s leading opposition party said it asked the Electoral Commission to create a new voter registry after it found errors in the one used in 2012.

The New Patriotic Party presented evidence to the commission on Tuesday morning, its presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, told reporters in the capital, Accra. The election is set for December 2016.

There is “overwhelming proof that the 2012 voter registry is incurably flawed and can’t be relied on for the 2016 election,” Mahamudu Bawumia, Akufo-Addo’s deputy, told reporters. “We are presenting our initial results because time is of the essence. The evidence we are showing you is damning.”

Ghana introduced biometric voting and registration for the 2012 elections that President John Dramani Mahama won against Akufo-Addo. While the use of the technology increased transparency, some changes need to be made to ensure that Ghanaians continue to trust the election process, Codeo, an independent coalition of non-governmental observers, said in a report after the election. The Supreme Court upheld Mahama’s win after Akufo-Addo challenged it.

Communications Minister Edward Omane Boamah and his deputy, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, didn’t answer two calls and text messages seeking comment. Christian Owusu-Parry, a spokesman for the electoral commission, didn’t answer three calls made to his mobile phone.

The NPP’s investigation showed that the commission couldn’t account for a difference in voters registered for parliamentary and presidential elections, why foreigners were listed in the database and why some people weren’t allowed to register. The party also found that regions near borders with neighboring countries had an unusual jump in registered voters.

In Togo, Ghana’s eastern neighbor, the NPP found about 76,000 registered voters who may not be Ghanaians, Bawumia said.

The NPP has asked the commission to conduct a registration for two weeks, allowing the new database to be done by June 2016, Bawumia said. Voters should be issued permanent biometric cards and the results should be audited, he said.

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