The Electoral Commission (EC) has dismissed claims by the parliamentary candidate for the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Mfantseman Constituency in the December 2012 general elections, Stephen Asamoah Boateng aka Asabee, that the polls were somewhat rigged.
In its response to an election petition filed by Asabee, a former Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, at a Cape Coast High Court, the EC, through its Municipal Electoral Officer, Stephen Bertino Baabereyir noted, “It is not true that the total votes cast in the Mfantseman constituency exceeded the number of ballots issued to voters.”
He stated, “There were strict adherence to the policy of ‘no verification, no vote’” which was emphasized during the training of election officers and party agents before the polls.
The EC however admitted that due to pressure of work and similarities of the sentences contained in the Statement of Poll, “sixteen Presiding Officers wrongly duplicated the figure representing C1 on the Statement of Poll which deals with ‘the number of ballots issued to voters on the polling station register’ unto C3 on the same which deals with the ‘number of ballots issued to voters verified by the use of form 1C (i.e. not verification)’.”
The EC indicated that the disputed figures were not realities but duplicates of the former; hence the assertion by Asabee that voting took place in a number of polling stations throughout Mfantseman constituency without prior biometric verification “is never true”.
The Municipal EC officer therefore attached a list of the 152 polling stations in the constituency with a voter population of 79,869 to the response for perusal.
In response to Asabee’s allegation that “the total valid and rejected votes from all the polling stations in the Mfantseman exceeded the number of ballots issued to voters”, the EC indicated, “It is never true” and that “the total valid votes of the Mfantseman constituency were 62, 481 and 1, 137 respectively.” These figures, according to the EC, “add up to 63, 618 which represent total ballots issued to voters in the constituency”.
That notwithstanding, the EC official admitted that “there were five polling stations in the constituency where the Presiding Officers wrongly completed the ‘ballot accounting’ section of the Statement of Poll.”
Instead of quoting the total votes in the ballot box (i.e. total valid votes plus total rejected votes) onto the C.1 which denoted ‘the number of ballots issued to voters’ contained in the Statement of Poll, the EC admitted that “the figures were under quoted”, connoting irregularity.
In view of its claim that the reduction of figures among five polling stations ranged from one to 10 numerical values, the EC insisted that the votes cast in the constituency did not exceed the number of ballots issued to voters.
The EC admitted that “all in all, the results of the 21 polling stations in the constituency did not bear signatures of the Presiding Officers.”
It however managed to put up a justification to the anomaly in that crucial electoral process, indicating, “The reason for not appending their signatures was identified to be pressures of work.”
The Municipal Officer noted, “In all the 21 polling stations, both party agents of the NPP and NDC appended their signatures to accept and validate the results”, insisting, “This technically denotes that the votes obtained by the candidates are true and accurate account of the ballots at the polling stations in question as validated by their agents.”
Source: Charles Takyi-Boadu/D-Guide
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