EC Chair’s claim that voter registration was done in district offices in 2016 misleading

On Monday, September 18, 2023, the chairperson of the Electoral Commission(EC), Jean Mensa, said the EC undertook voter registration in its district offices in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

Ms Jean Mensa said this to counter claims that this was the first time the EC is registering prospective voters who are age 18 and above at its district offices only despite calls for expansion of the centres in this year’s (2023) voter registration exercise.

The chairperson, then Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs, also defended her call for an expansion of the registration centres in 2016, which she said was due to the fact that 2016 was an election year, unlike this year’s registration which is a year away from the election 2024.

Fact-Check Ghana has verified this claim and found it to be misleading.

Claim: “You will recall that in the lead-up to the 2016 elections, the commission at the time undertook voter registration in its district offices throughout the country. This was conducted in a year of a general election.”

Verdict: Misleading

Explanation: The Electoral Commission conducted three registration exercises in 2016.
Two of those exercises took place at over 6,000 electoral areas while the third exercise took place at the District Electoral offices.

The first exercise took place from April 28 to May 2, 2016, to enable new voters who had attained age 18 and those who qualified but were unable to register the last time the register was opened, to do so.

This mop-up exercise was conducted in two phases. The first was from May 4, 2016, to May 8, 2016, in over 6,000 electoral areas, according to a book titled: Election 2016 compiled by the Electoral Commission in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation

At the time, there were calls for an extension of the time for the registration by the then Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Jean Mensa, now the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission.

The book also stated that after an inter-party advisory committee meeting, the EC conducted another 3-day mop-up exercise on August 19, 26, and 27, 2016. This was the only exercise conducted in the EC district offices, the second time in the history of the country. The first time it was done in the EC district offices was in 1996.

It is, therefore, clear that contrary to the EC Chairperson’s claim that the exercise was done in the district offices of the EC, it was done in over 6,000 electoral areas except for the third mop-up exercise which was done in the district offices.

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