Jean Mensa: Ghana Card Offers Strongest Guarantee for Voter Register Integrity

Jean Mensa, the Chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, has emphasized that the electoral body’s proposal to establish a constitutional instrument (CI) to designate the Ghana Card as the exclusive voter registration document is not intended to disenfranchise Ghanaians.

Addressing the media at the EC’s headquarters on Friday, Mensa clarified that the Commission aims to discontinue the guarantor system, which she stated has become obsolete. This decision stems from the Commission’s desire to adopt the Ghana Card as the singular identification document for voting.

Mensa elaborated that relying on the Ghana Card is the most effective approach to ensure the credibility of Ghana’s electoral roll. She explained, “With respect to the CI before Parliament, we are not planning to reintroduce the guarantor system. We believe the guarantor system has not proven effective. Thirty years ago, when we embarked on this journey without a Ghana Card, it was logical to adopt a system to accommodate individuals lacking documentation. Now, with the Ghana Card available, we must rely on it as the most dependable method to ensure the integrity of our voter register.”

The CI proposal currently under parliamentary consideration was driven by the Commission’s commitment to “conduct credible, transparent, fair and peaceful elections.” This resolve emerged from the challenges the Commission encountered during the 2020 registration period.

Mensa highlighted, “As a Commission dedicated to organizing credible, transparent, fair, and peaceful elections, we were motivated to uphold the integrity of the foundational document, the voters’ register. Hence, our suggestion to utilize the Ghana Card as the primary means to verify an individual’s citizenship and age.”

“Our experience from the 2020 Registration Exercise revealed that a number of minors and foreigners, exploiting the guarantor system, infiltrated our voter roll. In response, the Electoral Commission established District Registration Review Committees (DRRCS) in 2020, which worked for an extended period to remove minors and foreigners from the Register. The process required considerable time and effort to eliminate ineligible names. We challenged around 40,000 minors and foreigners and removed approximately 15,000 individuals from the Register.”

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