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NPP Raises Concerns Over 2days Voting   
 
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04-Dec-2016  
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The Acting General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, John Boadu, has raised grave concerns over what he sees to be “avoidable and bizarre errors” on the part of the Electoral Commission that has forced an unprecedented second day of special voting.

The NPP is concerned about information it has received from credible sources within the EC that there might be a grand scheme to take the general elections of Wednesday, December 7, to a second day.

“That would be a total disaster,” John Boadu warns.

“We will demand from the Electoral Commission to give the greatest assurance that it can give to the nation by Monday that there will be no adjournment of polls after 5pm on December 7,” he says.

The NPP sees a second day of voting as a probable plot to create confusion and avenues for manipulating the general elections.

 “We have read reports where security personnel, professionals trained in the art of discipline, are expressing violent anger over their names been missing, frustrating them  from voting. We do not want to imagine how bad things could get if this was repeated on December 7. We need the greatest assurance from the EC that this mess shall not be revisited on us on Wednesday,” Mr Boadu, who is also the Director of Operations of the NPP campaign, stated.

According to a Starr FM report, some security officers in the Tamale Central constituency, Northern Region, “vandalised voting materials over their missing names on the second round of special voting,” claimming the mishap was a “deliberate attempt by the EC officials to disenfranchise them.”

The officers numbering about twenty reportedly “kicked ballot boxes, booths and other essential materials after they were told their names could not be traced on the voting list.”

According to Starr News' Eliasu Tanko the aggrieved officials had earlier threatened to pepper spray the EC officials at the polling centre over the same problem.

“Having similar issues with missing names on December 7 would be very problematic. It could even be more problematic if EC uses that as an excuse to allow a second day of voting. Party agents may struggle to track the names of those who are yet to vote and those who voted, once the integrity of the entire register is compromised by errors,” John Boadu says, continuing, “So if the EC is entertaining creating the situation where voters would be similarly frustrated and use that to push the elections into a second day, then it better think again.”

The concern of the NPP is that such a situation may allow those who have already voted to vote the second day; ballot boxes may be tampered with and the ensuing confusion can cause widespread suspicion, violence and other unpleasant possibilities.

The NPP is suspicious that a lot of irregular schemes are being worked out to see how the imminent defeat facing the President could be somewhat overturned.

For example, “We have been doing special voting in Ghana in every general elections, what then explains this unusual confusion this time around? From what we know, some people somewhere are seeking to fudge and fidget with the data. We take this matter very seriously. As we keep on saying the biggest guarantee to peace is credible elections and there is no reason why we cannot have credible elections,” he adds.

Mr Boadu explains his party’s concerns further, “The EC presented us with the complete register a while back, but it did not come up with the special lists, as well, as required by law. It took them days after our persistent requests before they supplied us with what we thought was the full lists of the Special Voters, Proxies etc. To our surprise, this was not the case as they kept updating the lists even after that, ending with this mess.”

He cautions, “We will not accept any situation where this mess is carried into the main voting exercise on Wednesday.”

Regulation 36 of Public Elections Regulations, 2016 (C.I. 94) spells out the limited situations that may give rise to an adjournment of polls: “(1) Where the proceedings at a polling station are interrupted or obstructed by (a) riot or open violence, (b) storm, flood, or other natural catastrophe, or (c) the breakdown of an equipment.”  

Every polling station has been provided with a spare BVD in case the original one assigned to it breaks down. So the situation where faulty equipment led to continuous voting on December 8, 2012, should not arise this Wednesday.

Moreover, the law makes no express provisions for voting to go into day two if some voters end up not finding their names in the register, as was the case last Thursday.

Thursday’s early voting has created anxiety all over. Many of the 126,975 people listed to vote early on December 1 got to their various polling stations to be told their names were not on the list.

92,231 are listed as having voted. There are some doubts as to the identity of some of them, considering the confusion. But, for the remaining 34,744, most of them were told the EC was not able to transfer their names from their original place of voting to where they expected to do their early voting because of work. This led to the second day voting Sunday.

The errors were supposed to be rectified but it appears that has not happened very successfully.

What is even worrying is that the EC reconfigured the SD cards containing the register of special voters to effectively contain duplicated lists.

Thus, voters on Sunday could find their names on two separate Biometric Verification Devices, one containing the register at their assigned place of early voting and also in the special voting polling station in the constituencies at their original place of voting.

Another major worry is that the EC has not been able to remove most of the 127,000 names of special voters from the voters’ register in their respective original polling stations, in clear breach of the law.

So, now the burden is on the political parties to ensure that those who voted early do not slip through the system to vote again on Wednesday.

There is a voters’ register specific for every single one of the nearly 29,000 polling stations. Besides, there are four other lists that the EC must have at every polling station. These are the (1) Absent Voters List, which should contain all those whose names have removed from the polling station register because they were on the Special Voting List; the (2) Proxy List; the (3) Transferred Voters List and the (4) Exceptions List (containing those who are barred from voting because of double registration etc.)

John Boadu concludes by saying, “Everything must be done for every voter who shows up at the polling station before 5pm to vote. Again, nothing must be done to allow those who voted early or were listed to vote early to vote. We will not entertain any situation where the mess is carried forward to December 7.”
 
 
Source: Peacefmonline.com
 
 

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