The Electoral Commission has been implored to ensure that residents who turned 18 years after 2020 elections are registered and allowed to vote in the upcoming by-election in Assin North in the Central Region.
Failure to adhere to this call would amount to the breach of the 1992 constitution of Ghana, the Youth Bridge Foundation, non-profit organization committed to youth development, has maintained.
The seat became vacant following a Supreme Court ruling on May 17 that instructed Parliament to expunge Mr. James Gyakye Quayson’s name from its records after years of legal battle challenging his legitimacy as the elected Member of Parliament for Assin North in the 2020 elections.
“It is on record that the Electoral Commission has not conducted any fresh or continuous voter registration exercise since the nationwide registration held from June to August 2020.
“Since this exercise, a significant number of young people have turned the legal voting age of 18 years and the EC will be neglecting its duties if it fails to enfranchise these voters,” the Foundation said in a statement.
The Electoral Commission has therefore been urged to carry out a limited registration exercise for at least 2-days to allow eligible young voters who turned 18 since the last exercise in August 2020 to register and vote.
Find the full statement below
YOUTH FIRST TIME VOTERS TO BE DISENFRANCHISED IN ASSIN NORTH BY-ELECTION
The Youth Bridge Foundation would like to bring to the attention of the Electoral Commission, political parties and the general public that the parliamentary by-election in the Assin North constituency slated for June 27, 2023 will amount to a breach of the 1992 constitution if held without the inclusion of youth who turned 18 after 2020 election.
It is on record that the Electoral Commission has not conducted any fresh or continuous voter registration exercise since the nationwide registration held from June to August 2020.
Since this exercise, a significant number of young people have turned the legal voting age of 18 years and the EC will be neglecting its duties if it fails to enfranchise these voters.
The concern of Youth Bridge foundation finds expression in article 42 of the 1992 constitution that spells out the right to vote.
“Every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda”
We at Youth Bridge Foundation are worried that another breach of the constitution is about to happen after the Supreme Court ruling nullifying the Assin North election and expunging the name of its MP from Parliamentary proceedings.
The Foundation in 2012, 2016 and 2020 made similar calls and finds it disappointing that for the umpteenth time, the right of young people appears to be on the back burner.
In the recent Kumawu and the infamous 2019 Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, young eligible voters were again denied their constitutional rights as no exercises were conducted to put their names on the electoral role and this trend must not be allowed to fester.
The Foundation in April 2022 commended the EC for being resolute in the use of district offices for the 2020 limited voter’s registration; a decision which reduced cost and had the potential to facilitate continuous voter registration. It is our firm belief that the EC will make continuous registration a priority to include first time voters.
As advocates for youth development and inclusiveness, Youth Bridge Foundation makes the following calls;
- Call on the Electoral Commission to open a limited register for at least 2-days to allow eligible young voters who turned 18 since the last exercise in August 2020 to register and vote.
- EC to employ the use of BVR’s and the use of Assin North district office to facilitate this registration.
- EC to uphold the virtues of articles 42, 45a and e and 296 of the 1992 constitution.
- Call on stakeholders including political parties, civil society organizations and the general public to collaborate with the EC to prevent a breach of the 1992 constitution and deepen Ghana’s democracy.