The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa, says the commission is enjoined by law to publish full voters’ register hence the decision to publish full details of persons captured in the electoral roll.
“The Commission breached no law because we are mandated by the law to publicly put out the details of registered voters as has been published on the EC’s official website,” she added.
The EC chairperson made these comments as part of her opening remarks at a media training for journalists on electoral reporting in Accra.
Mrs Mensa’s comments come on the backdrop of the divided opinion that greeted a widely shared Google Drive link containing a list of Ghanaians eligible to exercise their franchise in the December polls.
The details included voters’ names, ages, polling centres as well as identification numbers.
A section of the public also raised concerns about data protection that may potentially arise.
She said “C.I. 127 requires that the provisional voters register is published on our website,” pointing out that “That same law states that the final register is published in a manner that the Commission deems fit.”
According to her, the development would also ensure transparency in the electoral process.
She denied claims that the Commission had pulled down the register from the website following public outcry over privacy issues, stressing that the list had been temporarily pulled down to allow for an upgrade with more enhanced functionalities before subsequently reloading it “in the coming days.”
In her comment on the issue on Accra based Joy FM, and monitored by the Ghanaian Times, the Executive Director of the Data Protection Commission, Patricia Edusei Poku said although the EC did not breach Data Protection laws in publishing the voters’ register online, it should have informed the electorate about its decision to do so.
She noted that the EC should have also referenced the law that allowed it to publish the data.
The Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, on his part refuted claims that the Electoral Commission had the automatic right to make public details of electorates.
According to him, the laws that allow the Commission to publish the voters’ roll (in the manner determined by the Commission) also require the EC to exercise “a careful discretion” in putting out such details.
“It is not true that the Electoral Commission has the automatic right to do this. There is no express authorisation for them to do this.
“The law is clear that, they should decide how they are going to put out the data but that decision is also subject to other laws,” he said.
By Times Reporter