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I'm Not Clear In My Mind What Overvoting Is – Afari Gyan   
 
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03-Jun-2013  
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Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, Monday, told the Supreme Court sitting on the Presidential Election Petition challenging the declared outcome of John Mahama as winner of the December Presidential polls, that he is not clear in his mind as to what over voting is.

Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan made the surprising statement when Justice Paul Baffoe Bonnie sought to inquire from him what his definition of over voting was. Earlier during the hearings, the main witness for the respondents, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, had stated that over voting is only when the ballots in the box are more than the number of registered voters at the polling station.

It would be recalled that the petitioners in their petition and through the testimony of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia had stated that over voting, in two forms, had occurred in around 2,000 polling stations across the country. They indicated that these two forms were: firstly, where total votes cast were more than ballots issued to voters at the polling station as is recorded in the C1 category of the pink sheet; and secondly, where total votes cast were more than registered voters at the polling station.

However, in giving his testimony, General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah disagreed and restricted himself to only the second definition of over voting.

The disagreement in the definition of over voting prompted Justice Baffoe Bonnie to inquire from the head of the EC clarity on the issue.

In answering the query, however, Dr. Afari Gyan stated that he was not clear in his mind what the appropriate definition for over voting was but proceeded to say that there was one classical definition of over voting which was the situation where total ballots cast exceeded the voters registered at the particular polling station.

Dr. Afari Gyan stated that in essence he did not have a problem with the new definitions of the petitioners only that the petitioners restricted themselves exclusively to the record on the face of the pink sheets.

He stated that he had a problem with limiting oneself to the record on the face of the pink sheet because those records could have been filled in error.

He noted that without consulting the voters register, the definition would be flawed but Justice Baffoe Bonnie who probed further indicated to the EC Boss that restricting oneself to the voters’ register was basically accepting the position of the respondents which would mean that the EC is ruling out the possibility of persons on the voters’ register dying before election day or persons failing to turn up to vote as normally happens.

At this juncture Dr. Afari Gyan sought to clarify himself and told the bench that he had not taken the definition of the respondents but only stated that the definition of the respondents was the classical definition for over voting but that the introduction of the verification device had made it “possible for us to introduce new definitions of over voting”.

Monday also witnessed Dr. Afari Gyan scrutinizing two out of the over 2,000 pink sheets where incidents of over voting occurred according to the record on the face of the pink sheets.

In one of them, Dr. Afari Gyan stated that one of the entries in either C1 or C3 on the pink sheet could be wrong.

However, after adding all the various portions in the ballot accounting section, he ended up with 228 even though 225 had been quoted as ballots issued; to explain this, Dr. Afari Gyan said that since 228 was closer to 225, it could be more acceptable.
 
 
Source: Peacefmonline.com/Ghana
 
 

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