The Collation of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), has said some political party agents monitoring the ongoing limited voters’ registration exercise have been abusing the challenge procedure.
The Electoral Commission’s limited voters’ registration exercise took off nationwide on Thursday April 28, and it is expected to register 1.2 million voters who have turned 18, as well as prospective first time voters. But CODEO says the instances where party agents abused the challenge procedure on the first day of the exercise, may discourage some prospective voters from partaking in the exercise.
They cited a particular polling station in the Eastern Region that had about 20 registrants challenged by party agents of the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party. According to CODEO, reports indicate that the party agents may have been abusing the challenge procedure just to outdo each other. Speaking on Eyewitness News, a research officer with CODEO, Rhoda Afful, said, “You realize the parties are now more or less trying to outdo each other in terms of raising challenge accusations against registrants.
This is something we are quite worried about; that some qualified people could be turned away because of this situation that we are having at the registration centers.” Mrs. Afful noted that there could be justifiable reasons for party agents using the challenge procedure but things get worryingly out of hand when they are done with ill-motives. “It is quite alright for a party agent to raise a challenge against somebody. The rules allow it.
But in an instance where you have almost all registrants, 20 of them being challenged by a political party sort of in a playful manner, I think it is quite worrying and something we need to look at.” “The way we do it, is something that we need to be careful with so that we don’t unnecessarily turn people away from the centres,” she added. She has thus called on the political parties to caution their polling agents against abusing the challenge procedure. Despite this hiccup, CODEO said the first day of the exercise was generally successful.