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REPORT ON IDEG OBSERVATION OF THE VOTER
REGISTRATION EXERCISE - 2008
31ST
JULY – 12TH
AUGUST 2008
TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
Acknowledgement 4
Executive Summary 5
SECTION I
1. Introduction 9
2. Why voter registration matter/...
Page | 3 
 
LIST OF ACRONYMS
CC Camera Crew
CDD Centre for Democracy and Development
CODEO Coalition of Domestic Elections...
Page | 4 
 
Acknowledgement
The observation of the voters’ registration exercise is part of the 2008 Elections Project whi...
Page | 5 
 
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Between 31st
July and 12 August 2008 the Institute for Democratic Governance IDEG
conducted ...
Page | 6 
 
iii. Unsuitable location of registration centres.
iv. Interference of party agents.
v. Underage registration.
...
Page | 7 
 
others who may have engaged in double registration to voluntarily surrender their
additional cards to the near...
Page | 8 
 
These proposals have several implications for the EC in particular, and for the Government of
Ghana and develo...
Page | 9 
 
SECTION I
1. INTRODUCTION
The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) mounted an observation of the limited...
Page | 10 
 
There is yet another cause to attach importance to the voter registration exercise, and that is the
huge burd...
Page | 11 
 
A whole-day trainer-of-trainers programme was organized at IDEG on July 26 for 25 Volunteers
and IDEG staff. ...
Page | 12 
 
4. FIELD DEPLOYMENTS AND COVERAGE
IDEG deployed altogether 219 observers comprising 25 supervisors and 194 vo...
Page | 13 
 
5.1 Nature of the Registration Exercise
The voter registration exercise of July-August 2008 was a limited ope...
Page | 14 
 
• Pencils
• Indelible ink
• Printing sheets
• Scissors
• Cameras
• Camera films
• Camera Batteries
• Rollers
...
Page | 15 
 
Figure 1: Provisional Registration Results
Data Source: Research & Monitoring Department, EC
The provisional ...
Page | 16 
 
Figure 2: Voter Registration Statistics on Limited Registration Exercise
Data Source: Research & Monitoring D...
Page | 17 
 
angry persons waiting in long queues for their turn to register. Some had no suitable furniture
and nearly al...
Page | 18 
 
observe problems at first hand. Enus Company Limited, suppliers of the cameras used for the
registration were...
Page | 19 
 
Of the various materials required for the registration exercise the one whose shortage
undermined the progres...
Page | 20 
 
5.5.2 Inadequate registration centres
With approximately 22,000 polling stations in Ghana but only 2,500 work...
Page | 21 
 
Party agents at polling stations interfered unnecessarily with the registration exercise. The
NPP and NDC wer...
Page | 22 
 
convinced registration officers to register them. In other cases the affected children simply
left the centre...
Page | 23 
 
Region Number
Western 295 0.16
Central 141 0.10
Greater Accra 646 0.19
Volta 189 0.12
Eastern 788 0.42
Ashant...
Page | 24 
 
Some people registered again because they had lost or misplaced their old voter ID,
photo looked old and defa...
Page | 25 
 
Ghanaian Citizenship documents. At Abelenkpe registration centre in the Ayawaso West
Wuogon Constituency in A...
Page | 26 
 
incidents were recorded. Minor violent incidents were isolated cases and reported gun-
shots fired at one Tam...
Page | 27 
 
In addition to general trends in the voter registration exercise several developments were
peculiar to partic...
Page | 28 
 
1. At Cape Coast Kakumdo registration officers made a mistake by skipping 50 registration
forms, drawing angr...
Page | 29 
 
6.6 Volta
1. The worst case of registration officers without commitment to the work was recorded
here. A pres...
Page | 30 
 
have registered while many who are qualified to register did not have the opportunity to do so.
At the same t...
Page | 31 
 
effect, conducts a major election and registration exercise every other year. The urgency for the
immediate r...
Page | 32 
 
xxiii. Appeal to parents, political parties, faith-based organisations, and traditional authorities,
as a mat...
Page | 33 
 
cumbersome ten to twelve day registration exercise every two years. The immediate cost of
continuous biometri...
Page | 34 
 
To aid IDEG field officers in the data collection during the limited registration exercise, a
framework i.e. ...
Page | 35 
 
Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008
Registration Material: Registration centres in the Upper East region expe...
Page | 36 
 
Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008
Besides Greater Accra and Northern regions, the rest of the regions had a...
Page | 37 
 
Figure 6: Assessment of Registration Materials in the Upper East Region
Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008
P...
Page | 38 
 
Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008
Figure 8: Busy Periods of Registration in the Regions
Source: IDEG Field ...
Page | 39 
 
development partners and sitting Members of Parliament was generally low. The low presence
of other stakehold...
Page | 40 
 
this was mostly prevalent in the Western Region. Underage registration ranked highest in five
(5)6
of the sev...
Page | 41 
 
Figure 10: Percentage of Underage Reported Violence Resolved Amicably
Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008
Gen...
Page | 42 
 
Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008
Figure 12: Gender Breakdown of Observers (IDEG Field Staff Inclusive)
Sou...
Page | 43 
 
REGION CONSTITUENCIES
Central Cape Coast
Gomoa East
Gomoa West
Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam
Eastern Aburi-Nsawam
New ...
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Between 31st July and 12 August 2008 the Institute for Democratic Governance IDEG
conducted an observation of the 2008 voter registration exercise. To ensure a focused and
effective observation IDEG deployed an observation team comprising 220 Ghanaians who were
deployed into 25 constituencies located in seven out of Ghana’s ten administrative regions
where IDEG maintains Governance Issues Forum Networks (GIFNET).

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Final draft ideg observation-report_voter-reg-ex 2008 1

  1. 1.                 REPORT ON IDEG OBSERVATION OF THE VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE - 2008 31ST JULY – 12TH AUGUST 2008
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE Acknowledgement 4 Executive Summary 5 SECTION I 1. Introduction 9 2. Why voter registration matter/Relevance of voter registration 9 3. Recruitment and training 10 3.1 Trainer-of-Trainers programme 11 4. Field deployments and coverage 12 4.1 Deployment challenges 12 4.2 Observation communication centre 12 SECTION II 5. General findings 13 5.1 Nature of the registration exercise 13 5.2 Registration infrastructure 13 5.3 Provisional results 14 5.4 What worked well 16 5.5 What went wrong 18 5.5.1 Shortage of registration materials 19 5.5.2 Inadequate registration centres 20 5.5.3 Unsuitable registration locations 20 5.5.4 Interference by party agents 21 5.5.5 Underage registration 21 5.5.6 Double/multiple registration 23 5.5.7 Other minor problems 24 6. Regional peculiarities 27 6.1 Greater Accra 27 6.2 Central 28 6.3 Eastern 28 6.4 Northern 28 6.5 Upper east 28 6.6 Volta 29 6.7 Western 29 7. Summary of findings 30 8. Recommendations 30 8.1 Immediate 31 8.2 Medium term 33 8.3 Future 33 SECTION III 9. Analysis of checklist 34 10. Annex 43
  3. 3. Page | 3    LIST OF ACRONYMS CC Camera Crew CDD Centre for Democracy and Development CODEO Coalition of Domestic Elections Observers CPP Convention People’s Party CSOs Civil Society Organisations DCE District Chief Executive EC Electoral Commission GIFNET Governance Issues Forum Networks HITI High Information Technology Institute ID Identification card IDEG Institute for Democratic Governance JHS Junior High School MP Member of Parliament NDC National Democratic congress NGOs Non Governmental Organizations NHIS National Health Insurance Service NPP New Patriotic Party PNC People’s National Convention RA Registration Assistants
  4. 4. Page | 4    Acknowledgement The observation of the voters’ registration exercise is part of the 2008 Elections Project which was designed by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) with the aim of contributing to the conduct of peaceful and credible elections, and securing national cohesion. Observation of the limited voters’ registration exercise required substantial resources both human and financial. The IDEG is grateful to the Dutch Embassy for funding this activity as part of its support for the 2008 Elections Project. The Institute further wishes to register its appreciation to Mr. Safo Kantanka - Deputy Chairman of the EC (Operations), and Mr. Okrah of the EC’s Training Department who served as resource persons during the training of the volunteers who observed the exercise. Furthermore, the Institute acknowledges the volunteers, the rank and file of its staff and all others whose efforts contributed to the success of the exercise. This report was compiled under the leadership of Mr. Kwesi Jonah (Research Fellow of IDEG) with valuable contributions from Mr. Peter Fiamor (Senior Research Officer, IDEG), Mr. Douglas Quartey (Information Management Officer, IDEG) and Mr. Ishmael Wireko (Research Assistant, IDEG).
  5. 5. Page | 5    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Between 31st July and 12 August 2008 the Institute for Democratic Governance IDEG conducted an observation of the 2008 voter registration exercise. To ensure a focused and effective observation IDEG deployed an observation team comprising 220 Ghanaians who were deployed into 25 constituencies located in seven out of Ghana’s ten administrative regions where IDEG maintains Governance Issues Forum Networks (GIFNET). Notwithstanding initial challenges such as the unwillingness of some district election officers to accept the EC’s observers ID cards as adequate and difficulty in accessing registration centres in remote areas, IDEG observers stayed in the field to observe the exercise for the entire 13-day duration. In the end IDEG observers were able to establish that though the voters’ registration exercise did not go well as expected it had some positive features. The first was the dedicated registration officers. Though they are not permanent employees of the Electoral Commission, the great majority of them remained dedicated to their work in the face of the numerous challenges confronting them. The second was the extraordinary interest stakeholders showed in the registration exercise. Party agents, parliamentary candidates, party executives, DCEs and some assembly members demonstrated a very high level of interest in the exercise. The Ghanaian media deserve special mention for their effective role in keeping the registration exercise under close public scrutiny. The main disappointment came from independent observers. Apart from IDEG, few other observers were encountered at the registration centres. On the whole, however, the voter registration exercise itself did not go as well as expected. Far more people registered than was estimated; people who are not qualified to vote under Ghanaian law registered, some people who registered could not be issued with their voter ID cards, and some eligible voters did not get the opportunity to register. The most fundamental problems that marred the 2008 registration exercise, in order of national importance were: i. Shortage of registration materials. ii. Inadequate registration centres.
  6. 6. Page | 6    iii. Unsuitable location of registration centres. iv. Interference of party agents. v. Underage registration. vi. Double or multiple registrations. Other minor problems were: Alien registration. Lack of peace and security. Lack of identification for registration staff. Party affiliation of some registration officers. To ensure that the voters’ register is clean and fit for the December elections, IDEG proposes that the EC should in the: Immediate-term i. Enter into collaboration with a broad range of civil society organizations, traditional authorities and the media to devise technically feasible strategies to clean the register. ii. Institute the appropriate machinery for investigating the 7,374 complaints that have been filed in connection with the voters’ registration exercise, especially in the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions where about 70 per cent of the complaints was recorded. iii. Give adequate publicity to the exhibition of the voters register due to take place from 5- 11 October 2008 so that members of the public will not only be able verify their names but also help with the cleaning of the register by raising legitimate objections to the inclusion of names that legally should not be in the register. iv. Ensure that effective security is provided for the exhibition of the voters register in October to guarantee adequate protection for the register, exhibition officers, observers and citizens. v. Take steps to get Exhibition Officers and other EC staff as well as party agents and observers to be appropriately identified by photo IDs issued by the EC. vi. Train party agents at exhibition and polling stations not to obstruct or interfere with the work of EC staff. vii. Appeal to all who have registered more than once to voluntarily surrender the additional cards to the EC in exchange for a pardon and immunity from prosecution. viii. Appeal to parents, political parties, faith-based organisations, and traditional authorities, as a matter of patriotism and national duty, to persuade their children, members and
  7. 7. Page | 7    others who may have engaged in double registration to voluntarily surrender their additional cards to the nearest District Elections Officer. ix. Institute urgent measures to address the problems of material shortages and inadequate number of registration centres before the next registration exercise in 2010. x. Institute more stringent procedures for selecting and supervising temporary staff who are engaged for voting, registration and exhibition exercises. xi. Consider the adoption of better equipment such as high speed digital cameras capable of handling many people within a very short time. xii. Adopt a policy of ensuring gender balance among registration exhibition and voting staff so that the example of Binduri constituency (Upper East) where there was a significant number of women registration staff will become a national model. xiii. Pay more attention to the party associations of its potential employees for elections, voters’ registration and exhibition exercises. xiv. Advise registration staff not to engage non-EC staff including observers in the performance of official EC duties. xv. Advise registration staff to handle more courteously cases of suspected alien registration to avoid embarrassing foreigners who have acquired Ghanaian citizenship. Medium-term In the medium-term (3-5years) Ghana should be moving toward a continuous registration exercise based on biometric technology. This means Ghanaians should be able to register as voters, anytime they turn eighteen and their finger prints should be the most reliable form of identification to eliminate the problem of multiple registration and cumbersome 10 to 12 day registration exercise every two years. The immediate cost of continuous biometric registration may be huge but its long-term cost- effectiveness in terms of money, time, labour, energy and reliability is not in doubt. The production of a clean Voters’ Register devoid of multiple entries of voters is in itself adequate justification for any cost that may be entailed in continuous biometric registration. In addition, the challenges that voters’ registration exercises pose for voters, registration officers, party agents, parliamentary candidates, and party executives and to a limited extent observers, media and security personnel will be substantially reduced.
  8. 8. Page | 8    These proposals have several implications for the EC in particular, and for the Government of Ghana and development partners. The government and its development partners should help the EC with the following: • Financial support for the procurement of biometric equipment for registration; • Financial assistance to expand and reinforce the EC’s human resource base to ensure continuous biometric registration; • Capacity building to operate and maintain biometric equipment; • Logistical support to apply biometric equipment throughout Ghana. Near Future Before the District Assembly Elections of 2010 another round of voters registration exercise will be conducted which means that the next limited registration exercise is less than two years away. It will be most helpful for the EC to hold a week-end retreat for political parties and CSO’s to do a thorough review of the 2008 registration exercise with the objective of ensuring a better managed registration in 2010. Fortunately, registration for district level election, which is not based on political parties, usually encounters far fewer problems than registration for Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Nevertheless, the benefits from workshop or retreat for political parties, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to review the 2008 registration will be immense.
  9. 9. Page | 9    SECTION I 1. INTRODUCTION The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) mounted an observation of the limited voter registration exercise conducted by the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana between 31st July and 12th August 2008 in seven of the ten administrative regions.1 The exercise which forms part of IDEG’s elections project titled: Sustaining Credible Elections, Peace and National Cohesion under the Institute’s Elections, Public Policy and Accountability Programme. The project has three main components namely: Credible Elections, Peace and Anti-violence and National Cohesion. The Election observation exercise constitutes the first major activity under the Credible Election component. The Credible Elections component comprises a series of activities to promote free, fair and transparent election 2008. The peace and anti-violence activities are geared towards ensuring peace before, during and after election 2008. The national cohesion track is designed to ensure that the unity and integrity of the nation remains intact and unimpaired whatever the outcome of the election 2008. 2. WHY VOTER REGISTRATION MATTERS/RELEVANCE OF VOTER REGISTRATION The voter registration exercise is a matter of strategic political importance to Ghana’s electoral democracy for a number of reasons. First, the right to vote and the associated entitlement to register to do so is guaranteed by the Fourth Republican Constitution of Ghana: Consequently, the number one function of the EC assigned by the constitution is “to compile the register of voters and revise it at such periods as may be determined by law” (Article 45a). Secondly, a credible Voters Register whose integrity is above board and enjoys the respect of all key players in an electoral democracy such as Ghana’s, is considered an essential first step towards credible elections whilst a flawed register is an excellent recipe for flawed elections. This is a basic fact on which all advocates of democracy agree and will defend at all times. Election observers in particular uphold this principle in the course of executing their observation activities.                                                              1  These were: Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East, Volta and Western Regions.  
  10. 10. Page | 10    There is yet another cause to attach importance to the voter registration exercise, and that is the huge burden on the Ghanaian tax payer arising from the exercise. The original estimated cost of Ghana’s election 2008 is in the region of GH¢42.6 million and a substantial portion of this, almost one-sixth or GH¢6.9 million would be sunk into the limited registration exercise alone. There is every good reason for Ghanaians to demand good value for money. 3. RECRUITMENT AND TRAINING The first stage in IDEG’s observation process was the recruitment and training of observers. An open advertisement in the Ghanaian media was followed by competitive interviews through which an initial team of 25 observation supervisors was recruited. The vast majority of them were either young graduates or graduate students from Ghanaian Universities. A total of one hundred and ninety-four (194) field volunteers majority of whom were members of the IDEG Governance Issues Forum Network (GIFNET) were subsequently recruited in 25 constituencies. IDEG maintained the Governance Issues Networks (GIFNET)2 for the observation. In the main, these volunteers were also professional teachers, graduate teachers, journalists, development workers, and polytechnic graduates. Two types of training were offered; trainer-of-trainers programme for the 25 observation supervisors who in turn conducted regional training for volunteers under them. The key advantage underlying the two-tier training is that volunteers from the same region working in similar conditions could discuss and share ideas on common problems and challenges. 3.1 Trainer-of-Trainers Programme                                                              2  These are networks through which IDEG trains local people to engage with policy makers in several districts using  the deliberative dialogue methodology.  
  11. 11. Page | 11    A whole-day trainer-of-trainers programme was organized at IDEG on July 26 for 25 Volunteers and IDEG staff. The one-stop session was supervised by the Deputy Chairman of EC Mr. Safo Kantanka who was the principal resource person. The other resource persons were Mr. Okrah, Head Training Department (EC), and Mr. Kwesi Jonah, Scholar in Residence (IDEG). The training modules covered the rules, regulations and processes governing voters registration in Ghana; correct voting procedures; election issues in Ghana; practical training in the application of checklists during elections and voter registration exercise; and the incidence of rejected ballot papers, its scale, causes and solutions. These modules were carefully chosen to reflect the broader Credible Elections Programme of IDEG: (i) Observation of the Registration Exercise 2008 (ii) Combating the Rejected Ballot problem (iii) Observation of Counting of Ballots, collation, declaration and transmission of results. The main tools/training instruments employed in the training were: • Legislation on Elections and Voter Registration • Observation Checklists • Presentations of Resource Persons • Practical Demonstrations • Training manuals By the end of the day-long training, supervisors had been exposed to: • The Legal basis of voter’s registration; • Extent of the problem of rejected ballots; • Correct Voting Procedures; • Issues in Ghana’s Election 2008; • What and How to observe in elections and voters registration exercise; • How observers should conduct themselves; • Reporting on Observation; • Note taking; and • Types of Observation. The training programme was participatory and interactive and supervisors were equipped to conduct a similar training for field volunteers in the regions.
  12. 12. Page | 12    4. FIELD DEPLOYMENTS AND COVERAGE IDEG deployed altogether 219 observers comprising 25 supervisors and 194 volunteers in 25 constituencies and seven administrative regions of Ghana.3 The constituencies were chosen from administrative districts where IDEG maintains Governance Issues Forum Networks (GIFNETS). 4.1 Deployment Challenges Each observer was issued with a picture ID by the EC and subsequently IDEG’s letters of introduction were forwarded to all of them. In spite of these precautionary measures observers encountered initial difficulties in the field mainly emanating from some District Election Officers who, in addition, wanted direct notification from EC headquarters in Accra or at least individual letters of introduction from the EC headquarters in Accra. In remote parts of the country, some registration centres were not easily accessible due to poor roads and transport services. By way of compensation however, IDEG observers enjoyed substantial goodwill of registration officers and party agents who welcomed them as Godsent partners in the rather challenging job of voter registration. 4.2 Observation Communication Centre To keep track of IDEG observers and ensure a constant flow of feedback from the field, an Observation Communication Centre was set up within the Research and Information Unit of IDEG under the direct control of Mr. Douglas Quartey, IDEG Information Officer. The main purpose of the centre was to receive field reports and address challenges. It was the observation communication centre that made it possible to address initial challenges observers faced in the field. SECTION II 5. GENERAL FINDINGS                                                              3  Please see annex for a breakdown of the constituencies in the 7 administrative regions.  
  13. 13. Page | 13    5.1 Nature of the Registration Exercise The voter registration exercise of July-August 2008 was a limited operation, in that, it was not meant for a general registration of Ghanaians. Registration was opened to give Ghanaians who had attained 18 years since the last limited registration of 2006, the opportunity to register to vote. Ghanaians who could not register in the past, regardless of age, could also avail themselves of the opportunity to register. Further, the registration exercise was not intended to replace lost voter identification (ID) cards. The EC had conducted and completed an exercise to replace lost voter ID’s, weeks before the limited registration exercise. It is quite evident from field observation that a large number of Ghanaians did not understand the nature of the limited registration exercise as many of those who had lost or misplaced their voter ID’s turned up to register again. Many of them who were detected were persuaded to fill a Voter ID replacement form. Those who were not detected might have registered again resulting in double registration. 5.2 Registration Infrastructure A total of 2500 registration centres were mounted to serve people from approximately 22,000 polling stations in Ghana. Several polling stations had to use one registration centre. To serve all areas, each registration team comprising at least four (4) officers – one Presiding Officer, one Registration Assistant, one Camera Operator and one Laminator had to rotate among the few centres serving a whole electoral area, spending a few days in each centre. Therefore, the registration exercise lasted thirteen days but not all thirteen days were spent at a centre. Each centre was served for only a few days. Apart from the registration officers, party agents mainly from the two dominant political parties NPP and NDC were present at each registration centre. It has not been a common practice to provide stationary security personnel at each registration centre. Security personnel might be called in as and when needed and various organizations were also free to apply for permission from the EC to observe the exercise. The registration materials essential for each station included • Registration Form 1A • Pens
  14. 14. Page | 14    • Pencils • Indelible ink • Printing sheets • Scissors • Cameras • Camera films • Camera Batteries • Rollers • Laminating Cards • Laminates Inadequate supplies or shortages of registration materials can and did slow down, halt or disrupt registration. In the end, the outcome of a good registration exercise is, to a large extent, dependent upon a good combination of efficient registration officers and an adequate supply of working materials. 5.3 Provisional Results Provisional results of the registration exercise indicate that far more people registered than the numbers estimated by the EC. This has raised serious concerns that the register that would come out of the registration would be inevitably bloated. Of equal concern is the fact that IDEG field observation indicates that the number of persons nineteen years and above who registered was far in excess of 18 year olds who turned up. It was also evident that a lot more men registered than women. Provisional EC figures indicate that 1,835,4174 new names have found their way into the register with the highest registration in Ashanti which recorded 374,451 followed by Greater Accra 340,694 and Eastern region 186,708 as reflected in figure 1. If Brong Ahafo, 186,604 is added then only four regions would account for close to 60 per cent of total registration. From all indications it is not only the national figure which may be bloated, all regional figures to a certain extent appear bloated as well. A trend analysis of the actual figures registered in the limited registration exercise between 1996 and 2008 is also provided in figure 2.                                                              4  This figure is equivalent to 290.4% of the 632,087 figure obtained in the limited registration exercise of 2006.  
  15. 15. Page | 15    Figure 1: Provisional Registration Results Data Source: Research & Monitoring Department, EC The provisional figures are even more shocking in the light of the EC’s own estimate that between 600,000 and 1,000,000 new voters were expected to enter the register in 2008. The new figure if added to the existing register (2006) containing 10,987,057 names will give a new total voting population of 12,822,474 representing 16.7 per cent increase in the registered voters. This is also an abnormal increase. In 2006 only 6.10 per cent increase was recorded over the 2004 registration and in 2002 only 4.44 per cent increase occurred over 2000 registration. An erroneous impression current in some political circles is that somehow the number of complaints and challenges filed at various registration centres, if scrupulously investigated, could result in some significant reduction in the number of registered voters. The total number of challenges, 7374 is not particularly high and even if all challenges were upheld no substantial decrease in the voters register would result from that angle.
  16. 16. Page | 16    Figure 2: Voter Registration Statistics on Limited Registration Exercise Data Source: Research & Monitoring Department, EC 5.4 What Worked Well The widespread criticism that met the reported lapses in the limited registration exercise of July – August 2008 has unduly obscured the relatively more positive aspects of the exercise in the minds of the Ghanaian public. For many the exercise was a flop and nothing good could come out of it. Two very positive underpinnings of the process have as a consequence gone unnoticed, namely, the largely hardworking and dedicated registration officers and the keen interest some stakeholders demonstrated in the exercise. Generally, the EC does not maintain permanent staff for voting and registration, thus temporary staff engaged and trained must be really committed to ensure the success of election and registration. On the whole the great majority of registration officers remained committed and dedicated to their work. Many had no transport and had to carry their own registration materials over long distances to their centres and from one centre to another. Many stayed at post from 7am to 6:00pm and many were taunted, insulted and even subjected to violent attacks from
  17. 17. Page | 17    angry persons waiting in long queues for their turn to register. Some had no suitable furniture and nearly all were at one time or another compelled to endure long delays in their work from the incessant wrangling of quarrelling party agents and yet many a registration officer endured and even enjoyed their work. Whatever limited success the exercise achieved is attributable to the hardworking and dedicated registration officers. The really bad nuts were few and far between. What kept the exercise under close public scrutiny, however, was the extraordinary interest various stakeholders showed in the exercise, notably party agents from the NPP and the NDC but in a few places CPP and PNC as well. Some MP’s, DCE’s, Parliamentary candidates, Assembly members and party executives also deserve a pat on the back for spending time to visit registration centres. By far the strongest interest elicited in the process came from the various media houses. Media houses such as GTV, TV3, TV Africa, Metro TV, NET 2, GNA, Ghanaian Times and Daily Graphic covered and reported on the exercise in the various regions. Regional media houses also played very positive roles in covering events at registration centres. In the Western region Kyzz FM, Rock FM, Melody FM, Skyy FM and SKyy TV were very active as also was the Daily Guide correspondent for Takoradi. In Central region IDEG observers encountered several regional media at various registration centres, among them YES FM, Ahomka Radio, Radio Central and ATL FM. Peace FM, Adom FM, Oman FM, Citi FM, Eastern FM and Sunrise radio covered the Eastern region quite extensively while Volta FM was active in the Volta region. In Accra Joy FM, Citi, Peace and indeed all the media houses maintained an extraordinarily strong interest in the exercise. In sharp contrast to the media and politicians, independent observers showed relatively little interest in the registration exercise. IDEG observers were spread in seven out of Ghana’s ten administrative regions but encountered too few observers in too few places spending very little time at registration centres. The British High Commission and Reuters News Agency did well to observe the exercise but the most frequently seen were the CDD Ghana, Christian Council of Ghana and CODEO. In the Volta region the Civic Union, Carter Centre and British High Commission were prominent observers. Perhaps the most prominent visitor in the Volta region was Chairman of the EC Dr. Afari Gyan who toured Ho and surrounding constituencies to
  18. 18. Page | 18    observe problems at first hand. Enus Company Limited, suppliers of the cameras used for the registration were also in the Volta region to check on the performance of the cameras. Apart from IDEG, other observers such as CDD Ghana, Christian Council of Ghana, CODEO, FADNU Foundation - a local NGO and Kristo Asafo were encountered in the various constituencies of the Eastern region. On the whole independent observers failed to appreciate the critical importance of the registration exercise for credible elections. They generally did not pay the 2008 limited registration exercise the degree of attention it deserved. Other election related activities have so far eclipsed the voter registration exercise in terms of the time, energy and resources independent institutions and organizations have allocated election 2008. This imbalance will need to be redressed when the register produced from the registration is put up for exhibition. 5.5 What Went Wrong In the immediate aftermath of the July-August 2008 limited registration exercise both the media and other observers tended to catalogue a large number of short-comings of the exercise. There was neither weighting nor ranking and virtually no differentiation between challenges faced, their causes and consequences. Under the circumstances, problems that affected only a few centres, constituencies, and regions were blown out of all proportion or presented as nationwide and thus tracing the cause-effect chain became virtually impossible. The most fundamental problems that plagued the recent registration exercise in order of national importance were; i. Shortage of registration materials; ii. Inadequate registration centres; iii. Unsuitable location of registration centres; iv. Interference of party agents; v. Underage registration; and vi. Double/multiple registration 5.5.1 Shortage of registration materials
  19. 19. Page | 19    Of the various materials required for the registration exercise the one whose shortage undermined the progress and success of the exercise was the Form 1A Scannable registration form. Shortage of this form, in many places brought the exercise to a halt. No shortage was recorded in most places within the first few days of the exercise due to initial slow response from eligible voters. Within three days, some centres began to experience serious shortages and after six to seven days there was a general shortage of registration forms throughout the centres. The immediate consequences of the shortage showed in the slow-down of registration, long queues and ultimately, total stoppage. Most centres recorded between three and four days of zero registration because of shortage of form 1A. On paper, the registration exercise lasted thirteen days but actually few centres worked more than nine to ten days. Eligible voters in long queues became easily irritable, and confrontation among themselves and with registration officers became common occurrences. The main underlying cause of the shortage was the unanticipated huge turn-out. The EC had actually exhausted all of its stock of Form 1A produced for the registration exercise 2008. The only forms available for use were 1992 unscannable registration forms used in training the officers for the 2008 registration exercise. These were quickly distributed to the centres but could not be used to take the photo ID. Thus, the information on the unscannable forms will have to be transferred unto scannable forms before affected registered voters can have their photo ID cards. EC cameras were the second most important source of problems with regards to registration materials. Some centres had faulty cameras while others ran out of films for cameras and photo fix. The common recurring problem however, was with the battery for the camera which ran down very quickly. The explanation was that as a consequence of the busy use of cameras the battery required a twelve hour overnight charging. Most Camera operators did not adhere to this charging rule and most centres had no source of electricity. In some Northern constituencies, it is alleged that, prospective voters were requested to contribute to buy batteries for the cameras if they wanted their pictures taken the same day. The combined effect of camera problems and shortages of Form 1A was to prolong registration time, create longer queues and in the end create a large stockpile of unprocessed registration forms.
  20. 20. Page | 20    5.5.2 Inadequate registration centres With approximately 22,000 polling stations in Ghana but only 2,500 workstations for the recent registration exercise it was obvious that one centre would have to serve many polling stations or a number of electoral areas. An original proposal to double the number of workstations would have almost doubled the budget as this would have required doubling the personnel and equipment. Each registration team had to move round a number of centres spending only a few days out of the total of thirteen days at each station. Sometimes before prospective voters at one centre had finished registration the team would have moved to the next centre. The crowd had no choice but to follow the team and swell the numbers at the next centre. As teams moved farther and farther away from unregistered voters it became increasingly difficult and frustrating chasing after registration. Some eligible voters, no doubt, missed out on registration as a result. Adequate workstations would have eased the burden of walking long distances to register. In the end inadequate centres placed enormous strain on prospective voters and Registration Officers. Registration Officers who could not stand the pressure accepted assistance from party agents, observers and even people who had completed their registration procedures. Some IDEG observers might have helped out with lamination and cutting of pictures. This assistance though might be illegal, the fact remains that registration centres and officers were too few to cope with the load of registration. 5.5.3 Unsuitable registration locations Many registration centres were virtually in open air facilities with very little or no shelter with some actually under trees. This slowed-down the pace of the registration and in some cases even temporarily halted registration in several ways. At such centres whenever it rained heavily, registration had to stop. Even under clear skies access to a source of electricity to charge batteries or feed the printer was a problem for some of the centres. Since registration coincided with the minor rainy season and batteries ran down frequently the registration exercise in many places could be anything but fast and efficient. 5.5.4 Interference by party agents
  21. 21. Page | 21    Party agents at polling stations interfered unnecessarily with the registration exercise. The NPP and NDC were the only parties that consistently maintained agents at every registration centre. Invariably the two parties challenged each other about everything including suspected cases of underage, alien or non-resident and multiple registrations. The challenge usually ended in one of the party agents either filling a complaint or challenge form or through amicable settlement. There were however, a few cases of settlement through collusion, in that, one agent would allow a suspected case of underage registration to go unchallenged if the prospective voter belonged to an agent’s party. To balance, the other agent would be allowed to do the same. The colloquial expression for this collusion was “you do, I do” meaning “if I allow one case of illegal registration you should allow me to do the same”. The underlying cause of the constant interference of agents in the process was the strong desire not to allow one party to gain any advantage over the other. However, in the end the effect was to inconvenience the prospective voters in the queues as challenge by parties sometimes held up the registration exercise by up to half hour. 5.5.5 Underage Registration Of all the problems encountered in the 2008 limited registration exercise the most frequently reported and one that was popular with the media and observers was underage registration (i.e. . the registration of persons who had not attained the legal minimum age of 18 years), which surfaced in several forms. The first involved cases of persons who were not 18 years at the time of registration but would be 18 years before voting day, December 7, 2008. The official position of the EC is that a voter should be 18 on the day of registration. Practically various registration centres were very inconsistent. Some registered persons in this category without argument, others registered them after long arguments between NPP and NDC agents and a few were not registered at all. The second type involved people who by their physical appearance appeared to be under 18 years. The cases challenged were resolved in one of two ways. Parents of the suspected underage children either provided birth certificates or NHIS cards to prove the age or
  22. 22. Page | 22    convinced registration officers to register them. In other cases the affected children simply left the centre and did not return. There was a third type in which a child’s class in school was used to challenge stated age. In this case a child’s class in school was used as evidence of underage prospective voter. In general, Junior High School children, even if, in JHS 3 were deemed to be under 18years. Some parents provided concrete evidence of age while some children gave up and did not register. In cases where no other solution was found, the suspected underage child was registered and a party agent would complete a complaint or challenge form. On the whole however, there is reason to believe that cases of underage registration were exaggerated by media reports. In the entire registration exercise a total of 7,374 complaints, mostly about underage registration were filed. This is less than three complaints or challenges per each of the 2500 registration centres. Even more significant, is the fact that complaints filed in general and specifically about underage registration were not as widespread as reported but confined to Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, not covered by IDEG observers. Out of the total 7,374 complaints filed 4,923 came from only two regions – Ashanti and Brong Ahafo. This means over 70% of complaints came from 20 per cent of regions. It is also significant that of a total number of 1,835,417 voters registered in the 2008 exercise only 7,374 cases (approximately 0.40 per cent) attracted recorded complaints or challenges. Given that most complaints concerned underage registration the problem does not appear to be very significant. Moreover, observer checklist and media reports tend to capture underage registration but not the eventual resolution. Produced below is the table of challenges filed in the 2008 registration exercise. Table 1: Challenges/Complaints filed in 2008 voter registration exercise by regions % challenged over total registration
  23. 23. Page | 23    Region Number Western 295 0.16 Central 141 0.10 Greater Accra 646 0.19 Volta 189 0.12 Eastern 788 0.42 Ashanti 3591 0.96 Brong Ahafo 1332 0.71 Northern 290 0.19 Upper East 9 0.01 Upper West 93 0.21 Total 7374 0.40 Data Source: Research & Monitoring Department, EC 5.5.6 Double/Multiple registration More than underage registration the real problem of the 2008 registration exercise was double or multiple registrations. Contrary to popular belief, this did not take the form of people moving from one registration centre to the other to register more than once. The two most common forms of double registration involved registered voters who on their own registered again either in the same or nearby registration centre. The second involved registered voters who were ‘bused’ not by political parties but by particular parliamentary candidates or their agents across constituencies and even regions to register in their home town constituencies even though they were registered and always voted in their town of residence. This is non-resident registration and in all cases the effect was the same, bloating of the register, but the motivation was very different. Some of the MP’s alleged to be behind the double/multiple registrations did this primarily to increase the support base in their constituencies ahead of election 2008. The assumption is that it is easier and better to register again than to transfer one’s vote which is considered to be a rather cumbersome procedure usually with uncertain outcome. In any case the material incentive is always too good for registered voters to resist.
  24. 24. Page | 24    Some people registered again because they had lost or misplaced their old voter ID, photo looked old and defaced and no longer nice to them etc. In some instances, people registered again because the Voter ID is now used for multiple transactional purposes. It is now the most recognised and acceptable form of ID for all kinds of transactions. In the estimation of many Ghanaians it is easier to acquire one on the spot than to apply for a new one from the EC. The major evidence that gives cause to suspect double or multiple registration is the large proportion of people 19 years and above who registered during the period. In almost all constituencies and regions there were far fewer 18 year olds at the registration centres than older people. Those 19 years old and above were the ones who mainly registered. Few concrete examples include: Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar constituency in the Eastern Region where a total of 3,389 people were registered but only 774 were 18 years old; Zebilla constituency in the Upper East region where - 3,864 people registered but only 1,302 were 18 years old. Hohoe North constituency Volta region - a total of 8,926 registered but only 3,500 were recorded to be 18 years old in all the centres. By far double or multiple registrations was a much bigger problem in the 2008 registration exercise than underage children. In other words adults not children were the problem. 5.5.7 Other Minor Problems Although there were reported cases of alien registration as well as violence and security concerns, these were blown out of proportion. • Alien registration A few cases of alien registration turned out not to be alien registration after all. Skin colour, names and other irrelevant criteria such as inability to speak English were used to determine nationality. In the end, most alleged aliens turned out to be genuine Ghanaian citizens or foreigners who genuinely thought the voter’s registration was the National Identification Authority registration of citizens. Party agents were ignorant of citizenship by naturalization and of the fact that some Ghanaians could have parents with different nationalities which entitled them to Ghanaian citizenship. A few interesting examples were recorded by IDEG observers. In Takoradi a white man who turned up to register had his nationality challenged by party agents but he immediately produced his
  25. 25. Page | 25    Ghanaian Citizenship documents. At Abelenkpe registration centre in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency in Accra, a man with a Lebanese name who turned up to register was challenged but was also able to produce his Ghanaian citizenship documents as proof of his eligibility. In the Northern region, a man showed up at a registration centre and when questioned, mentioned his hometown as Buya in the Republic of Togo. Actually one of his parents was Ghanaian and the gentleman spent a lot of time with this parent in Ghana. In Takoradi a man called Toure was refused registration on account of the fact that his name indicated he hailed from one of the Sahelian countries, Mali or Niger. In Takoradi citizens of Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria turned up at registration centres to register because they thought the exercise was for the citizens ID Card. When they were informed that this was a voter registration exercise they quietly walked away. On the whole alien registration was not a major problem in the 2008 voter registration exercise. The few cases encountered were indeed genuine registration of people with Ghanaian citizenship. A few aliens however turned up to register with an erroneous impression that it was a citizenship registration exercise. The regions where these incidents were recorded include; the Western, Eastern, Northern, Upper East and Volta regions. In the Upper East, in particular, it was difficult to distinguish Burkinabe’s living along the border from Ghanaians and an English language test is not a useful solution. • Peace and Security Registration centres in general did not have permanent security detail. Police patrols visited centres from time to time and registration officers could call in the Police in case of trouble. This is more or less the same security arrangements instituted for past registration exercises. Unlike the experience on a typical voting day, registration centres did not have allocated stationary security personnel. This would not have mattered but for the fact that frequent shortages of registration materials, long queues of irritated prospective voters generated two types of violent behaviour among persons in the queue and between them and registration officers. If any person tried to jump the queue it easily generated violent and insulting behaviour while angry people in the queue sometimes vented their spleen on registration officers over shortage of materials. In spite of this, almost all IDEG supervisors described the 2008 registration exercise as very peaceful. No serious violent
  26. 26. Page | 26    incidents were recorded. Minor violent incidents were isolated cases and reported gun- shots fired at one Tamale registration centre completely misled the Ghanaian public into illusions of general violence at registration centres. The fact is that violence was not a major problem. Two other minor problems identified that may require serious attention both in future registration exercises and Election 2008, are the identification of Registration staff or persons working for or in the name of the EC and party affiliation of such persons • Identification of EC staff All persons present at a registration centre need proper identification so that prospective voters/voters, observers and other persons doing legitimate work may recognize them as such. In the 2008 registration exercise registration staff and party observers were not properly identified. One interesting incident that occurred at a registration centre in the Eastern region illustrates the danger of lack of proper identification. A gentleman came to the centre and introduced himself to the registration officers as a journalist covering the exercise. When asked for his ID, his reaction was to ask the registration officers also to produce their ID. Neither the “Journalist” nor the registration officers had any ID to show. • Party affiliation of registration officers A second minor problem was the party affiliation of registration officers. Registration officers and most election officers are not permanent employees of the EC but are recruited temporarily for the election or registration exercise. It is important for public confidence in the EC and election process that persons recruited should be seen to be completely non-partisan and impartial. Comments and actions of some of the registration officers totally betrayed their partisan biases and this could undermine the confidence in the EC and the credibility of elections and registration process. 6. REGIONAL PECULIARITIES
  27. 27. Page | 27    In addition to general trends in the voter registration exercise several developments were peculiar to particular regions and were either not observed in other regions or replicated in one or two regions only: 6.1 Greater Accra 1. Private companies participated in the photo-taking of registered Voters. In Ayawaso East a private Company High Information Technology Institute (HITI) was engaged to help with the registration. With high speed digital cameras HITI was able to take high quality pictures of about 100 people in 30 minutes. Camera operators using EC cameras took about 10 minutes to produce one person’s picture. At Ayawaso and Kotobabi other private photographers who cashed in on the shortage of films to do brisk business, charged between 2-10 Ghana cedis but did not produce very good pictures. 2. Non-EC staff, mainly observers and persons who had completed their registration procedures were drafted to assist with the registration exercise specifically with lamination and picture cutting. 3. Some party officials attempted to register a list of people who were not personally present at the registration centre. 4. Nepotism and corruption characterized the registration process in the form of people paying money to jump the queue or party agents helping relatives and party members to jump the queue in Ayawaso East constituency. 5. Disabled people and pregnant women were given preferential treatment at some centres in Ashaiman but the privilege was abused when women who were not pregnant quickly rushed home to dress like pregnant women. 6. At Alajo in Accra some prospective voters produced laminates similar to EC laminates which were said to have been stolen from the centre to help them get their photo ID during the shortage of laminates at the centre. They claim to have bought it in the vicinity. 7. In Nima West and Mamobi some registration officers who did not speak the local languages had communication problems. 6.2 Central Region
  28. 28. Page | 28    1. At Cape Coast Kakumdo registration officers made a mistake by skipping 50 registration forms, drawing angry protest from the NDC Parliamentary candidates Barton Oduro. 2. In one of the constituencies there was confusion over which finger should be marked with the indelible ink: left thumb or left index finger. 3. In the Adjumako-Enyan-Essiam constituency there was problem with furniture for registration. 4. At Apam in the Central region some “machomen” were reported to have beaten up some registration officers over refusal to register some non-residents. 5. At Mumford also in the Central region there was collusion between NPP and NDC agents at some centres over “underage” registration with each agent allowing the other to allow an equal number of underage registrations using the “you do, I do” slogan. 6.3 Eastern Region 1. Some party vehicles were used to transport registration officers looking for more registration forms. 2. Some registration officers made mistakes about the polling station of registered voters. 3. A journalist who was challenged over his ID also challenged the registration officers for their ID’s. 6.4 Northern Region 1. Hardly any media persons or observers were encountered at centres visited. 2. Some towns such as Salaga experienced heavy rainfall on some registration days and this made it difficult for people to move to registration centres to register. 6.5 Upper East 1. Some registration centres located under trees were forced to close down on rainy days. 2. Binduri had excellent gender balance on registration staff; 70 per cent of registration Assistants and 45 per cent of camera operators were women, a very unique situation. 3. Strong suspicion that a few people living on the Burkinabe side of the border might have crossed over to register.
  29. 29. Page | 29    6.6 Volta 1. The worst case of registration officers without commitment to the work was recorded here. A presiding officer at one of the centres could leave for home anytime of the day and not come back and could stay home for as long as five days without reporting for duty. 2. Some registration assistants showed their partisan colours from their comments overheard by an IDEG observer. 3. A school at one of the registration centres refused to release furniture on the grounds that the head teacher was not notified that registration officers would require furniture from the school and in any case, it was the last day of school term and the school needed the furniture as well. 4. One of the registration centres recorded a case of stolen registration forms. 6.7 Western 1. At some of the centres in Takoradi there was conflict between voter registration officers and National Identification registration officers over furniture because they happened to be located at exactly the same place. 2. Since the National Identification registration exercise was going on at the same time several alien nationals mistakenly reported at voter registration centres but were turned away after the difference had been explained to them. 3. The interest of the local media stations in the coverage of the registration exercise was exceptionally strong – Kyzz FM, Rock FM, Good news FM, Melody FM, Skyy FM and SKyy TV were everywhere tracking the exercise. 7. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS The limited registration exercise held from July 31st to August 12th , 2008 did not go as well as expected. Many people registered more than once. Others who should NOT have registered
  30. 30. Page | 30    have registered while many who are qualified to register did not have the opportunity to do so. At the same time many people who registered have not yet been issued with their voter ID cards. Provisional registration figures show a huge increase of over 83.5 per cent over and above the EC’s own highest estimate of one million new voters. The register that will result from the 2008 registration exercise, all sides agree will be a hugely bloated register. Serious and innovative strategies will be required to trim the register to a more realistic size in order to ensure the credibility of the elections it would be used for.. In the process of cleaning the register however, it will be most helpful to keep in mind what was a major problem in the registration exercise and what was not so serious, if the appropriate strategies for cleaning up are to be prudently devised. The report indentified five (5) major problems that afflicted the 2008 registration exercise as: 1. Shortage of Registration Form 1A; 2. Inadequate registration centres; 3. Unsuitable registration centres; 4. Interference by party agents in the registration exercise; and 5. Multiple and underage registration. Minor problems encountered include alien registration, peace and security, lack of identification for personnel at registration centres and registration officers who did not conceal their partisan affiliation. Major and minor problems, no doubt, reinforced each other to complicate matters for the registration exercise. It is important however, to keep them conceptually separate. 8. RECOMMENDATIONS Ghana has a much shorter electoral cycle than many citizens are aware of. Therefore limited registration exercises do also occur at much quicker pace and intervals than most Ghanaians realize. Registration shortcomings observed in one exercise should be addressed rather urgently before they recur in the next registration. General and local government elections are held every four years and since they are conducted two years apart from each other, the country holds a major election every two years. Each major election, under present standing arrangements, also calls for a registration exercise. Ghana, in
  31. 31. Page | 31    effect, conducts a major election and registration exercise every other year. The urgency for the immediate rectification of registration shortcomings is great. 8.1 Immediate The EC should shift into high gear to ensure that the voter’s register arising from the 2008 registration exercise is clean and fit to be used for the December 2008 elections. To achieve this, the EC should do the following: xvi. Enter into collaboration with a broad range of civil society organizations, traditional authorities and media to devise technically feasible strategies for eliminating from the register names of underage persons, aliens and Ghanaians who have registered more than once. xvii. Institute without delays, the appropriate machinery for investigating the 7,374 complaints that have been filed in connection with the 2008 registration exercise with special emphasis on the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions where about 70 per cent of the complaints was recorded. xviii. Give adequate publicity to the exhibition of the voters register due to take place from 5- 11 October 2008 so that members of the public may not only verify their own names but also help with the cleaning of the register by raising legitimate objections to the inclusion of names that legally should not be in the register – non-resident, multiple registration underage, alien and dead persons. xix. Ensure that effective security is provided for the Exhibition of the voters register in October to guarantee adequate protection for the register, the exhibition officers and persons who may register their legitimate objection to the inclusion of names of unqualified persons. xx. Take steps to get Exhibition Officers and other EC staff as well as party agents and other observers to be appropriately identified by wearing their photo IDs or identification tags or properly inscribed T-shirts and Caps. xxi. Train party agents at registration, exhibition and polling stations not to obstruct, slow down or interfere with the work of EC staff but to co-operate to accelerate the delivery of their functions. xxii. Appeal to all who have registered more than once to voluntarily surrender the additional cards to the EC in exchange for a pardon and immunity from prosecution.
  32. 32. Page | 32    xxiii. Appeal to parents, political parties, faith-based organisations, and traditional authorities, as a matter of patriotism and national duty, to persuade their children, party members and subjects who might have engaged in double registration to voluntarily surrender their additional cards to the nearest District Election Officer. xxiv. Institute urgent measures to address the problems of material shortages, paucity of registration centres before the next registration exercise in 2010. xxv. Institute more stringent procedures for supervising temporary staff who are engaged for voting, registration and exhibition exercises. xxvi. Consider the adoption of better equipment such as high speed digital cameras capable of handling many people within a very short time. xxvii. Adopt a policy of ensuring gender balance among registration exhibitions and voting staff so that the example of Binduri constituency (Upper East) where a substantial number of registration staff were women will become the national model. xxviii. Pay more attention to the party associations of its potential employees for elections, voters’ registration and exhibition exercises. xxix. Advise registration staff not to engage prospective voter’s observers and non-EC staff in the performance of official EC duties. xxx. Advise registration staff to handle more courteously and cautiously cases of suspected alien registration to avoid embarrassing foreigners who have acquired Ghanaian citizenship through the appropriate legal procedures. Too many foreign nationals who had acquired Ghanaian citizenship were discourteously challenged over their nationality. 8.2 Medium-term In the medium-term (3-5years) Ghana should be moving toward a continuous registration exercises based on biometric techniques. By this, we mean Ghanaians should be able to register as voters, anytime they turn eighteen and their finger prints should be the most reliable form of identification to eliminate the problem of double and multiple registration and
  33. 33. Page | 33    cumbersome ten to twelve day registration exercise every two years. The immediate cost of continuous biometric registration may be huge but its long-term cost-effectiveness in terms of money, time, labour, energy and reliability is not in doubt. The production of a clean Voters’ Register devoid of double or multiple entries of voters is in itself adequate justification for any cost that may be entailed in continuous biometric registration. In addition the stress recent voters’ registration exercise had placed on voters, registration officers, party agents, parliamentary candidates, and party executives and to a limited extent observers, media and security personnel will be substantially eliminated. This has several implications for the EC, the Government of Ghana’s and development partners. The government and its development partners should help with the following: • Financial support for the procurement of biometric equipment for registration; • Capacity building and enhancement to operate and maintain biometric equipment; • Logistical support to apply biometric equipment in Ghana’s rural environment; and • Financial assistance to expand and reinforce the EC’s human resource base to guarantee trouble-free and continuous biometric registration. 8.3 Future Before the District Assembly Elections of 2010 another round of voters registration exercise will be conducted. Really the next limited registration exercise is less than two years away. It will be most helpful for the EC to hold a week-end retreat for political parties and CSO’s to do a thorough review of the 2008 registration exercise with the objective of ensuring a better managed registration in 2010. Fortunately, registration for district level election which is not based on political parties usually encounters far fewer problems than registration for Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Nevertheless, the benefits of calling a workshop or retreat of civil society organizations and other stakeholders to review the 2008 registration will be immense. SECTION III 9. ANALYSIS OF CHECKLIST
  34. 34. Page | 34    To aid IDEG field officers in the data collection during the limited registration exercise, a framework i.e. a checklist of things to look out for was developed to be used by the officers. This section provides an analysis of the key findings based on the thematic areas of the checklist. Registration Personnel: The observed trend by our field officers from the 7 regions suggests the timely deployment of registration personnel comprising Registration Assistants (RAs) and Camera Crew (CC) over the 13-day period of the exercise. Generally, RAs were often present, punctual and worked on time. But for the Greater Accra Region, the CC were deemed to be generally efficient i.e. punctual, working on time and fast on the job as depicted in figure 3. These trends to some extent show the level of preparedness of the EC towards the exercise. Figure 3: Efficiency of Camera Crew Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008 Security presence at the registration centres was lacking, with the worse affected areas being the Central, Eastern, Northern, Volta and Western regions. Particular constituencies such as Bawku Central had regular security presence at most of the registration centres due to already existing disputes in the area. The Greater Accra region was the only region to have experienced high presence of the security personnel, even though most did not stay at post. Figure 4: Presence of Security Personnel in the Greater Accra Region
  35. 35. Page | 35    Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008 Registration Material: Registration centres in the Upper East region experienced the highest incidence of shortage in registration material based on the frequency of reports received during the duration of the exercise. The Greater Accra region on the other hand, reported the least incidence of shortage in materials as depicted in figure 5. Sixty two percent (62%) of the records indicated a general shortage in registration material in Upper East compared to the twenty eight percent (28%) recorded in the Greater Accra region. Figure 5: Availability of Registration Materials in the Regions Observed
  36. 36. Page | 36    Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008 Besides Greater Accra and Northern regions, the rest of the regions had above fifty percent (50%) reported cases in the shortage of registration materials. The availability and/or unavailability of materials were judged based on the following items: 1. Registration books, 2. Cameras for taking pictures, and 3. Furniture to be used by the RAs. Figure 6 gives an indication of the breakdown in the shortages reported from the Upper East Region.
  37. 37. Page | 37    Figure 6: Assessment of Registration Materials in the Upper East Region Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008 Patronage: The voter registration exercise was highly patronised5 with high turnouts in all but 1 region (Central). The central region recorded the lowest percentage figure i.e. 45% in relation to how busy the registration centres were with the Greater Accra region being the busiest with a figure of 97% (see figure 7). The high turnout rate albeit unexpected from the EC’s estimation was mostly experienced in the mornings and evenings. The busiest periods vary depending on the region. Three regions – Central, Eastern and Upper East were mostly busy in the mornings whereas the other four – Greater Accra, Northern, Volta and Western were mostly busy in the evenings (refer to figure 8). Figure 7: Patronage in the Central & Greater Accra Regions                                                              5  Patronage was determined by how busy the registration centres were.  
  38. 38. Page | 38    Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008 Figure 8: Busy Periods of Registration in the Regions Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008 Stakeholder Interest: The exercise generated much interest among the Political Party agents notably the NDC and NPP. The NDC and NPP party agents were virtually present in all the registration centres throughout the exercise in the respective regions (see figure 9 below). Interest among other stakeholder such as the media, national and international observers,
  39. 39. Page | 39    development partners and sitting Members of Parliament was generally low. The low presence of other stakeholders besides the party agents generally reflects the lack of importance attached to the exercise. Additionally the general lack of other party agents at the centres also gives an indication of the under capacity of these parties. Figure 9: Interest Generated Among Party Agents Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008 Identification of Staff and Stakeholders: Identification of key actors/stakeholders in the exercise was generally difficult as observed in all registration centres in the 7 regions. Most of the registration personnel and the party agents did not have name tags by which they could be easily identified. This problem persisted even among the national and international observers at the centres. Disputes: The disputes reported were mostly related to multiple, non-resident, underage and alien registrations. Other disputes had to do with the alleged party affiliation of RAs even though
  40. 40. Page | 40    this was mostly prevalent in the Western Region. Underage registration ranked highest in five (5)6 of the seven (7) regions. A ranking of the disputes based on the frequency figures is presented in the table below. Dispute related to non-resident registration was ranked highest in the Central region whereas in the Western region, disputes related to the party affiliation of RAs ranked highest. Table 2: Ranking of Source of Disputes by Region Variables Central Eastern Greater Accra Northern Upper East Volta Western Alien Registration 3 3 2 2 4 2 5 Underage Registration 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 Non-Resident Registration 1 2 3 3 3 3 3 Multiple Registration 4 4 4 4 2 4 4 Party Affiliation of Registration Assistants 5 5 5 5 5 5 1 Note: The highest rank is 1 and the lowest 5 Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008 Analysis of the dispute data indicates a peaceful resolution of most of the disputes often through consensus building among the political party agents. A greater percentage of underage related disputes were resolved amicably as depicted in figure 10. Interestingly the dispute among the parties in regard to the party affiliation could not be resolved peacefully in the Western region. This presupposes the difficulty involved in resolving disputes where party agents are at the centre of the dispute.                                                              6  Eastern, Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East and Volta 
  41. 41. Page | 41    Figure 10: Percentage of Underage Reported Violence Resolved Amicably Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008 Gender Balance: There were more females represented as registration assistants at the registration centres compared to the other variables – camera crew and party agents as depicted in figure 11. The Eastern, Greater Accra and Northern region had no female represented as a camera crew. The Greater Accra region had the highest number of female proportionally represented as party agents among the 7 regions. The gender breakdown of all observers including IDEG field officers is also highlighted in figure 12. Figure 11: Ratio of Female Representatives as Camera Crew, Registration Assistants & Party Agents
  42. 42. Page | 42    Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008 Figure 12: Gender Breakdown of Observers (IDEG Field Staff Inclusive) Source: IDEG Field Observation 2008 ANNEX ANNEX 1: Regions & Constituencies where observation was undertaken
  43. 43. Page | 43    REGION CONSTITUENCIES Central Cape Coast Gomoa East Gomoa West Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam Eastern Aburi-Nsawam New Juabeng North New Juabeng South Suhum Greater Accra Ayawaso Central Ayawaso East Ayawaso West Wuogon Ashaiman Northern Kpandai Salaga Upper East Bawku Central Binduri Zebilla Garu-Teampane Western Sekondi Shama Takoradi  

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Between 31st July and 12 August 2008 the Institute for Democratic Governance IDEG conducted an observation of the 2008 voter registration exercise. To ensure a focused and effective observation IDEG deployed an observation team comprising 220 Ghanaians who were deployed into 25 constituencies located in seven out of Ghana’s ten administrative regions where IDEG maintains Governance Issues Forum Networks (GIFNET).

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