The charges of  One Hundred Dalasi to be imposed by the IEC on those
who are to replace voter’s cards which are lost, stolen, destroyed byfire or any other means or defaced is being questioned. Many have
asked whether this would not result in voter apathy. The question
arises: Should a voter pay 100 Dalasi for a card that may have been
consumed by fire or stolen? In a properly managed system, budget on
registration of voters should take care of contingencies such as the
replacement of cards which are defaced or lost.

It is not clear how many cards are due for replacement. Hence any
presumption that a charge is put to teach lesson to careless voters
would be outrageously speculative. The most desirable thing to do is
to provide the cards free of charge in this instance and then make a
rule for notices to be filed at IEC offices of lost, destroyed or
defaced cards which would be replaced in any subsequent registration
exercise. All those who had not given advanced notice to enable the
IEC to know who needs replacement and factor them in the budget would
be excluded.

The duty of an Independent Electoral Commission is to go the extra
mile to ensure that all those who should vote are given the facilities
to exercise their right. It should tackle problems through civic
education and leave out only those who choose to be left out. For
example, if one is to give notice of a lost card within a given frame
work and one fails to do so, one has no one to blame for one’s lack of
initiative. We hope the Commission would reconsider.

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