LET THE CITIZEN KNOW PRESENTATION BY CHAIRPERSON OF THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION, MRS JEAN MENSA ON WEDNESDAY 12TH AUGUST, 2020 AT 10:00am AT THE IPAC ROOM
Good Morning Citizens of Ghana, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press. I welcome you to the 9th edition of the “Let The Citizen Know” press briefing. We thank God for a new day. His mercies are new every morning. Indeed, the fact that we have successfully completed the 2020 Voters Registration Exercise is a testament of His faithfulness. We certainly could not have come to this point without Him. I say this because we have prevailed and conducted a successful Voters Registration Exercise against all odds. As a Commission we have not lost sight of the circumstances around which the 2020 Voters Registration Exercise was conducted. Here, I’m referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on our operations and activities.
As you may all be aware, we were confronted with a myriad of obstacles prior to the commencement of the 2020 Voters Registration Exercise. The COVID-19 pandemic THREATENED TO throw our activities out of gear. First of all, it affected the global supply chain worldwide and caused the manufacturing industry which came to a grinding halt. This meant that the major manufacturing companies worldwide had to shut down. The manufacturers of our devices i.e. the Biometric Voter Registration Kits (BVRs) and Biometric Verification Devices (BVDs) also closed shop for a period of time creating a lot of uncertainty around the production and delivery of the kits. Additionally, as a nation we were all confronted with fear and uncertainty around the Corona virus not knowing what lay ahead. We also had the global and national lockdown which brought the world and our nation to a standstill. Yet in spite of the circumstances and uncertainties we kept our focus and remained unperturbed, cognisant of the fact that this too would pass.
Faced with the uncertainty around COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown, we had no option then but to revise our calendar and move all our activities from April to July, three (3) months behind our planned schedule. It meant that, for the first time in the history of the country, a new register was to be prepared in July, as opposed to previous new registers which have been conducted in the first quarter of the year.
The revision of the calendar meant that the register had to be compiled in the rainy season. There was the fear that our registration activities would be hindered by the rain. There were also real threats that the fear of the virus would result in a low turnout at the Registration Centres and ultimately lead to voter apathy. It was widely speculated that the Commission would not achieve its target of 15 million. However, to the Glory of God we have exceeded the set target of 15 million and recorded a total number of 16 million 963 thousand 306 registrants (16,963,306 million registrants). We experienced a six (6) week period of no rain in a rainy season. In spite of the COVID-19 fears and threats, the turnout by Applicants at all Registration Centres throughout the country was massive, leading to the high number of registrants at all Registration Centres nationwide. The Aged, the vulnerable, persons with disabilities and the youth all participated extensively in the Exercise. Additionally, the kits arrived just in time and worked efficiently. Thankfully, the COVID-19 protocols put in place ensured that lives were not endangered. By Gods grace, we did not witness the deaths of citizens as predicted. For all of this and many more, we are grateful to God. We say with conviction that if it had not been for the Lord on our side, we could not have come to this point.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, my presentation today will focus on ten (10) key areas namely;
- OVERVIEW OF THE REGISTRATION PROCESS
- NUMBER OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITY WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE VOTERS REGISTRATION EXERCISE
- THE GENDER DYNAMICS
- FIRST TIME VOTERS
- TYPE AND STATISTICS OF DOCUMENTS PRESENTED BY APPLICANTS AT THE REGISTRATION CENTRES
- NUMBER OF APPLICANTS WHO REGISTERED WITHOUT FINGERPRINTS
- CHALLENGE CASES
- TOTAL NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS AT THE END OF DAY 36
- NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS AT THE END OF THE 2 DAY MOP-UP EXERCISE BY REGION
- FINAL PROVISIONAL FIGURES FOR THE 2020 VOTERS REGISTRATION EXERCISE
OVERVIEW OF THE REGISTRATION PROCESS
The main Registration Exercise and the Mop-Up ended successfully on Sunday the 9th of August, 2020. From the very onset, the Commission was determined to ensure that no eligible voter was left out of the process. We are pleased to say that the Exercise was inclusive, participatory, orderly and peaceful. Ghanaians came out in their numbers to register and we commend you all for your interest and participation which made the Exercise a success.
The experiences and accounts shared by our stakeholders indicate that the training afforded to all our temporary staff was effective. The efficiency and professionalism of our field staff coupled with the robustness of the registration kits contributed to the high number of registrants witnessed today.
On average, we recorded 150 registrants per kit per day as compared to previous registrations where we averaged some 80 persons per kit per day. In some places, field staff recorded up to 280 persons per kit per day. This accounts for our ability to exceed our target of 15 million registrants well before the end of the exercise. It is important to note that by day 31 of the exercise we had recorded about 15 million 178 thousand 107 Applicants (15,178,107 Applicants).
NUMBER OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITY WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE VOTERS REGISTRATION EXERCISE
We are gratified to note that a significant number of persons with disabilities participated in this Exercise. As part of our commitment to ensure that no one was left behind, the Commission made arrangements to cater for a section of our society at all District Offices of the Electoral Commission throughout the country. This is the first time such an arrangement has been put in place. As a Commission, we wanted to ensure that vulnerable groups, the aged, persons with disability, pregnant women etc all felt comfortable to participate in the Registration Exercise. It paid off.
At the end of the Registration Exercise, 64 thousand 996 persons (64,966) with disability had successfully registered in the process. This represents 0.56% of the total number of persons registered and demonstrates good progress.
THE GENDER DYNAMICS
We now come to the important subject of Gender. At the end of the Registration Exercise, our statistics show that 8 million 775 thousand 609 (8,775,609) women registered, compared to 8 million 187 thousand 698 men (8,187,698). Women make up 51.73% of the register whilst men make up 48.27%.
The Upper East Region recorded the highest number of female registrants per population with 54.6%. The Western Region had the highest number of male registrants per population with 51.2%.
FIRST TIMER VOTERS
Now to the issue of the First Time Voters.
For the purposes of this presentation, we classify First Time Voters as persons 18 years of age at the time of their Registration. As mentioned in our previous presentation, we classify this age group as First Time Voters because over the last two years, the Commission has conducted two (2) Elections; a District Level Election in 2019 and a Referendum in 2018. Therefore, there is the possibility those above the age of 18 may have voted in those Elections.
At the end of the Exercise, 762 thousand 944, (762,944) 18-year olds had registered as voters. This figure represents 4.5% of the total register. To go a little deeper, 612 thousand 104, (612,104) 19 years olds also registered as voters. In a nutshell, the total number of 18- and 19-year olds who had registered at the end of the Exercise amount to 1 million 375 thousand 048 persons (1,375,048). This figure represents 8.1% of the total register.
TYPE AND STATISTICS OF DOCUMENTS PRESENTED BY APPLICANTS AT THE REGISTRATION CENTRES
Out of the over 16 million persons who registered at the end of the Exercise, 60.09% of Citizens used the Ghana card. 37.99% registered through the Guarantor System and 1.92% registered with their passports.
The region with the highest number of persons who used the Ghana card is the Oti Region where 79.1% of the registered population presented the Ghana card. They are followed by the Eastern Region where 78.5% of Applicants presented the Ghana card. The Western North Region came third with 76.9% of the registered population presenting Ghana cards.
Regarding the use of the Guarantors, the Bono East Region recorded the highest use of the Guarantor system with 58.5% registering with guarantors. They are followed by the Bono Region and Ahafo Region. In both regions, 57.7% of the registered population used the Guarantor system.
NUMBER OF APPLICANTS WHO REGISTERED WITHOUT FINGERPRINTS
A number of Applicants who presented themselves for registration had lost their fingerprints. This made it impossible for the scanners to capture their fingerprints. This was however not unexpected, and these Applicants will be verified on Election day using our Facial Recognition system.
At the end of the Registration Exercise, the number of persons who were registered without fingerprints amounted to 61,995. This represents 0.37% of the total number of persons registered.
The Upper East Region had the highest number of this class of Applicants. A total of 9,244 applicants were found to have traumatic fingers. The region with the lowest number of trauma cases was the Ahafo Region, which had only 813 persons with traumatic fingers.
It is important to explain, that the nature of one’s occupation often accounts for this phenomenon.
One of the mechanisms set out in the law for cleaning the register and ridding it of ineligible persons is the Challenge system. The Challenge system, contributes to ensuring and guaranteeing the credibility of the Register. It allows a qualified registered voter to challenge the registration of an Applicant on the grounds that the Applicant does not satisfy the laid down criteria namely; that the Applicant is not Ghanaian, he/she is not 18 years old and that the Applicant is not of sound mind.
At the end of the Exercise, the number of Challenge cases amounted to 37 thousand 762 cases (37,762). This represents 0.20% of the total register. The regional breakdown will be available online.
From the data, one can observe that the Oti Region had the highest number of Challenge cases per population with 0.51% of registrations being challenged. This is followed by the Ahafo Region where 0.38% of registrations were challenged, and then the Volta Region with 0.37% of registrations were challenged.
It is evident that most of the Challenge cases are from border regions with the exception of Ahafo. It gives reason to assume that the Challenges relate to citizenship issues emanating from the infiltration of foreigners. At a later date we will shed more light on our findings.
The Commission is mindful of the infiltration of foreigners at a number of our Registration Centres. Additionally, we are aware that a number of minors have also found their way into the register. We are confident that the Challenge processes initiated at all Districts throughout the country will unearth these illegal persons and rid the register of those who do not qualify to be on the register.
We are confident that the register that will be used for the 2020 Elections will be a wholly Ghanaian enterprise reflecting qualified Ghanaians and Ghanaians only.
TOTAL NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS AT THE END OF DAY 36
Finally, we come to the issue of the number of persons who have registered to date. At the end of the 36-day Exercise 16 million 932 thousand 492 (16,932,492) persons had registered as voters.
NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS AT THE END OF THE 2 DAY MOP-UP EXERCISE BY REGION
At the end of the Mop-up Exercise, 30 thousand 814 persons successfully registered as part of the 2020 Voters Registration Exercise. The total number of registered voters at the end of the Exercise stands at 16 million 963 thousand 306 (16,963,306).
The Regional breakdown is as follows:
|GREATER ACCRA||3 million 509 thousand 805|
|ASHANTI||3 million 13 thousand 856|
|EASTERN||1 million 628 thousand 180|
|CENTRAL||1 million 566 thousand 061|
|WESTERN||1 million 185 thousand 315|
|NORTHERN||1 million 47 thousand 539|
|VOLTA||929 thousand 322|
|UPPER EAST||653 thousand 730|
|BONO||648 thousand 408|
|BONO EAST||592 thousand 015|
|UPPER WEST||470 thousand 271|
|WESTERN NORTH||465 thousand 444|
|OTI||353 thousand 492|
|AHAFO||315 thousand 827|
|SAVANNAH||295 thousand 648|
|NORTH EAST||288 thousand 393|
|TOTAL REGISTERED||16 million 963 thousand 306|
As explained at all our “Let the Citizen Know” encounters, these are provisional figures. The process of Deduplication which is ongoing will flag multiple registrations in the system. Additionally, the Challenge system put in place during the Registration and Exhibition Exercise will further flag unqualified voters on the register. Ultimately, these processes will contribute to the cleaning of the register and ensure its credibility ahead of the 2020 Elections.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have come to the end of today’s “Let the Citizen Know” encounter.
Before we take a bow, we would like to assure the good people of Ghana that as a Commission we are determined to put in place and ignite all the mechanisms available to us to clean the register and to rid it of all unqualified persons i.e. minors and foreign nationals. We are confident that at the end of the day we will present Ghanaians with a credible register that reflects Ghanaians and Ghanaians alone. A wholly owned Ghanaian enterprise.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the citizens of Ghana for believing in us and for participating massively in the 2020 Voters Registration Exercise. The spirit of patriotism demonstrated over the past six (6) weeks has been phenomenal. We are most grateful to you. We would like to thank all our partners; the Security Agencies under the auspices of the Election Security Task Force, the Media and the Civil Society and Observer groups for this contribution which made the 2020 Voters Registration Exercise a success.
We would also like to thank all our staff- our indefatigable Regional Directors, Directors, Deputy Directors, District Electoral Officers and support Staff as well as our Temporary Officials for their hard work and efforts to make the 2020 Voters Registration Exercise a success. We are proud of you.
We cannot end without thanking the Almighty God for seeing us through a successful Voters Registration Exercise. His faithfulness is constant. That we have had 36 days of no rain in a rainy season and a smooth and seamless Voters Registration Exercise it can only be by His grace. We are grateful to God.
I thank you all.
God bless our Homeland Ghana and make our Nation great and strong.