EC Responds To NDC's Concerns On Printing of Excess Ballot Papers For 2020 Polls

The Electoral Commission (EC) has responded to the concerns raised by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in relation to the printing of extra ballot papers for the 2020 polls.

The EC has explained that the NDC and all other political parties are aware of the practice and convention of printing of extra ballot papers since 1992.

"This is what we have been doing since 1992 and every political party is aware. They are not new things. In addition to that, they [political parties] have their agents there and so whatever is being printed, their agents have been given copies of the number of ballots printed," the EC's Director of Elections, Dr Serebour Quaicoe said in a radio interview Monday afternoon.

He insisted that this is not a new creation only being implemented in the year 2020, "it is something we always we do" and very transparent such that it involves all political parties and security agencies at every stage.

He added all political parties are always given details of the ballot papers with their serial numbers and therefore cannot be used without all the parties being aware.

He said the process is transparent such that, it is indicated with serial numbers where every ballot paper is distributed to at the polling station level and therefore if a ballot paper is created "outside what has been distributed, it makes it a foreign ballot, you cannot use it."

The opposition NDC on Sunday expressed reservations with the printing of excess ballot papers by the EC for the December 7, 2020 polls.

According to the NDC, instead of the normal printing of five percent excess ballot papers in all elections to take care of unexpected situations such as spoilt ballots, the EC was this year colluding with one of the seven printing houses undertaking the exercise, Assembly Press.

The NDC has therefore accused the EC of printing about 150,000 surplus ballots aside from the 5 percent required excess ballot papers per polling station.

The National Campaign Coordinator for the NDC, Professor Joshua Alabi who addressed the media on the matter on Sunday said such irregularities will not be countenanced by the party.

But reacting in the radio interview on Accra based Asempa FM monitored by Graphic Online, Dr Serebour Quaicoe said the allegation by the NDC was surprising since the EC has already directed the printing houses to share with the political parties and the security agencies the number of ballot papers being printed and how it would be distributed.

This, he said was to deepen the transparency in the system.

Dr Serebour Quaicoe explained that extra ballot is printed because some ballot papers can be destroyed either by rainfall or it can fall from the hands of a voter and gets dirty, or a voter who feels, he or she has made a mistake whilst voting and before dropping it in the ballot box, the voter can always request for a new ballot paper.

Assembly press allegation

On the allegation by the NDC that some ballot papers were being printed at the Assembly Press on the blind side of political party agents and the security services, Dr Quaicoe offered to take the press to printing houses for the media to ascertain whether it is possible to print ballot papers in secrecy.

He said the political party agents and the security agencies are there to check the serial numbers of what has been printed and so even if a ballot paper were to be printed outside, it cannot be accepted and added since the serial number may not fall within what is known by all agents.

NPP reaction

Already the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said the NDC was deliberately creating the grounds to reject the results of the elections which it was well aware that it was going to lose.