A preliminary report released by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) shows significant progress in the ongoing national voter registration exercise despite pockets of incidents in some registration centres.
The Coalition had deployed 100 observers in 100 randomly selected constituencies spread across Ghana's 16 regions for the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise being undertaken by the EC.
The report signed by Albert Kofi Arhin, National Coordinator, CODEO, and copied to the Ghana News Agency said during Phase One of the exercise (June 30 to July 5), the Coalition assigned an observer to each EC registration team to observe the process throughout the six days.
Each observer was required to observe and report on the location of registration centre, availability of registration materials, availability and functioning of BVR kits, the conduct of registration officials and other stakeholders like political party agents and registration applicants.
They were also to report on adherence to registration rules and regulations and watch the extent of adherence to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including those instituted by the EC at registration centres.
The findings show a majority of the centres were able to start daily registration on time as 66 per cent started by 7:15 am, while in other instances, registration started between 7:16 am and 8:00 am, representing 28%, or after 8:00 am (5%).
"Nearly all, 99 per cent per cent of the registration centres observed were easy to locate," the report said, though one in ten registration centres (11%) was found to be not easily accessible to persons with disabilities and the elderly.
It added, about 95 per cent of registration centres were set up in a manner that allowed for the easy flow of registrants from entry to exit, but 5% were not.
About 68 per cent of registration centres observed had a team of six or more registration officials, the report said, while close to 32 per cent of centres had less than six registration officials and about 79 per cent of registration centres had stationed uniformed security personnel.
On availability of registration devices and materials, CODEO said nearly all registration centres had BVR Kits and the requisite registration materials such as Voter Registration, Guarantee and Challenge forms at the time registration started.
Most (99%) registration centres did not encounter any shortage of registration materials, but close to one per cent encountered some shortage.
CODEO also assessed the presence of party agents and transparency of the registration process and said most registration centres (87%) did not have any other political party agents, apart from the NDC and the NPP.
Touching on COVID-19 Health and Safety protocols, it reported that in some instances (28%), registration officials could not ensure the two-meter distance required between registration applicants in a queue, though inner perimeters of registration centres (91%) were found to be spacious enough to allow the necessary social distancing arrangement, while 9% lacked the required space to enforce relevant social distancing protocols.
In most cases, the report noted registration officials checked the temperature of registration applicants and turned away those with high body temperatures.
Nearly all the registration centres had hand-washing facilities but BVR Kits encountered few malfunctioning with (87%) reporting no equipment malfunction occurred.
The challenges of unresponsive devices, logging-in difficulties, challenges with capturing fingerprints of applicants and malfunctioning cameras, were either fixed or replaced, the report said.
There were reported incidents of confusion triggered by some people believed to have been brought around the registration centres by political party agents to guarantee for others.
In most (96%) cases, the registration exercise was conducted according to the electoral rules and regulations. In 4% of the time, the rules and regulations were violated.
It also said in most centres (60%), registration officials were able to register 100 or more persons a day (and sometimes up to 177), while in 21%, however, officials could register less than 80 persons a day.
At the end of the phase one of the biometric voter registration exercise, over 71 per cent of the registration centres had registered 500 or more people, 24 per cent 700 or more people while 29 per cent registered less than 500.
Meanwhile, CODEO has indicated that it is worried there was some level of laxity in the COVID-19 health and safety protocols as the social distancing rule was violated at some centres.
It called on the EC to consider additional mechanisms for enhancing the effectiveness of health and safety protocols at all registration centres.
The Coalition entreated the EC to keep the public adequately informed about the movement plan of registration teams to enhance awareness and understanding about the exercise.
It also urged the public to exercise optimum responsibility in ensuring that human lives were not endangered unnecessarily.