The Member of Parliament for North Tongu in the Volta Region, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has appealed to the Electoral Commission (EC) to increase the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) equipment in registration centres with large voter populations.
He said the allocation of one registration kit to populated registration centres had made the exercise to be too slow and laborious, causing long queues that could aid the spread of COVID-19.
“Given the slow pace of the exercise, we will want to suggest to the EC that for populated polling stations with over 500 people, we should not have a one-size-fit-all kit for all stations and this will allow the EC to expedite the registration process,” he said.
Adopt different approach
Speaking to the Daily Graphic after visiting some of the 13 registration centres in his constituency earmarked for the first phase of the exercise, Mr Ablakwa said, “The EC must adopt different approaches by thoroughly assessing registration centres with large population sizes. Once a station is big, the EC should do well to add more equipment to ease the flow of queues.
Mr Ablakwa noted that since the EC had the records on registration centres with large population sizes since 1992, the commission must not treat polling stations with more than 500 people the same way as those with 100 or less people on the voters register.
“We must remember that this is not the normal registration we have been doing since 1992; this is the first time the EC is conducting this exercise in a pandemic and we ought to be cautious that COVID-19 is real and we cannot take things for granted,” he said.
With enthusiasm of the people to get their names registered in the new voters register, the MP commended the officials of the EC for starting the exercise on time and instituting the necessary COVID-19 safety protocols.
“We have not had issues with equipment not functioning except one registration centre at Kledeke where the exercise stalled for two hours due to a technical fault with one of the equipment but the EC called in technicians to resolve it,” he said.
He was happy about the prevailing cordiality and mutual respect among all stakeholders including the police, agents of political parties and EC officials during the exercise, saying that “I like the high spirit of democratic culture and this is exemplary.”
With less than five confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the area, Mr Ablakwa commended the people in Battor, Mepe, Aveyime and other areas for complying with the various hygienic protocols by observing social distancing, wearing nose masks, washing hands with soap under running water and using hand sanitisers.
To sustain strict compliance with safety protocols, he said he had instituted a special award to give out prizes to the best 10 registration centres that would adhere strictly to all safety protocols as part of efforts to stop the spread of the disease in the area. – #GhanaVotes2020#