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Verdict: Ghana’s Voter Register Can’t be Bloated. This is why. – IMANI’s B.B. Simons

Verdict: Ghana’s Voter Register Can’t be Bloated. This is why.

1. A demographic analysis does not really support the “bloating” theory of our voter register. 

2. The “demographic structure” argument (the number of voters in relation to the total population and in relation to the age spread) is usually made to suggest that the “bloating” is recent and that it benefits specific parties.

3. Yet the rise and fall of registered voter numbers is quite arbitrary as far as the data is concerned, ‘peaking’ and ‘troughing’ when different parties win at the polls.

4. The voter to population ratio is definitely high in Ghana compared to other African countries, but it is not high compared to the situation in other regions, including in regions with a strong ‘youth bulge’. 

5. And it is important to bear in mind that Ghana’s high ratio dates back to 1992, and is therefore of historic provenance.

6. The variance across countries and regions may be driven by the degree of sophistication of the electoral system and local political factors, both of which may be influencing the motivation of voter-age citizens to register and the capacity of electoral management bodies to implement mass voter registration drives. 

7. That Ghana is also more urban than many of its peer countries has an impact on the effectiveness of voter registration mobilisation. 

8. Moreover, in 2016 when we took a keen interest in this matter, Ghana’s population pyramid (see attached chart) indicated a voting-age population of more than 17 million (perhaps as high as 62.5% of the population), which would make Ghana fairly typical in Africa based on a ratio of how many voting age citizens are on the electoral roll (a lot of commentators rely on the 40% below 15 years stat from the 2010 census, but the aggregate has changed as we are aging as a society, and the computation is a bit problematic).  Linear population growth would suggest the number is now about 19 million.

9. So the evidence swings both sides, an attitude in line with the complexity of the data on the subject as evidenced by the annexes to this post.

10. In one of the attached charts you  would see that Indonesia has 243 million or so people in total but 190 million voters. India has 1.25 billion or so people but 815 million voters. We need the best demographic distribution before we can assert bloating or calculate its extent.


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