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Political parties lament over SHS students being disenfranchised

Date published: Thursday, 5th May 2016

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) branches in the Upper East Region, are appealing to the Electoral Commission not to prevent students in the second cycle institutions who have turned 18 years, but unable to produce guarantors’ from registering in the ongoing limited voter registration exercise.

According to them, this could disenfranchise eligible persons from voting on November 7.

One of the requirements by the constitutional instrument regulating the conduct of this year’s elections, C.I 91, is that qualified persons who have no evidence of identity can only register after 2 guarantors have verified their ages.

But this according to some members of the two main political parties, the NDC and the NPP in the Upper East Region, could discourage many students in Senior High Schools in the region who are non-residents from participating in the ongoing limited voters’ registration.

They argue that, it will disenfranchise many SHS students on November 7 and are calling on the Electoral Commission to register eligible students who are non-residents in the Upper East Region.

Upper East Regional Youth Organizer of the NDC, Robert Yel-Oni said “we had complaints from our agents that, senior high schools students particularly those from outside of the Upper East Region were turned away at the registration centers because they did not have guarantors to guarantee for them.”

“This is so because, these students need people to guarantee for them and they need people who know them very well before that person can guarantee for you. So the EC officials around registration centers by secondary schools can relax this requirement by the C.I 91 to allow students from outside of the Upper East Region to register in order to make a decision come November 7”.

NPP Upper East Regional Director of Communications, Edmond Awuni, agrees with this.

He wants the EC to allow students to register even if they are unable to provide any prove of identity.

“Some students could not be registered because they don’t have guarantors and these students are coming from the southern sector and are here and nobody can guarantee for them, it is a worrying situation. We would wish that, the Electoral commission can have a clause that will be friendly to these students once their parents are not here, so if EC could have a way of allowing these senior high school students to register, only students, so far the first phase is gone and these students were denied the chance to register and these students cannot go to their respective regions to register because school is still in session,” Awuni stated.

At the time of filling this report after visiting some registration centers in the morning, no SHS student was found at the registration center to register.

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