The Electoral Commission (EC) has given the strongest assurance yet that it is on course to deliver a more inclusive and transparent process in the collation and declaration of the November 7 presidential and parliamentary election results.
According to the election management body, there is a lot of integrity, transparency and inclusiveness in the entire electoral process and so there is the need for total support from all Ghanaians, especially stakeholders in the elections, to make this year’s elections a resounding success.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Monday, the Chairman of the EC, Mrs Charlotte Osei, called for the nation’s support and citizens’ confidence in the entire electoral process because “the commission is committed to organising the best of elections, come November”.
Mrs Osei spoke about what the EC was doing from this period up to the November 7 elections and also shared her brief impressions on the ongoing voters register exhibition and the re-registration of voters whose names had been deleted from the register because they used NHIS cards to register.
As part of key electoral reforms, the exhibition exercise has been extended from the usual 10 to 14 days to 21 days for a good number of reasons.
Among other reasons, it will give longer time for eligible voters to check and confirm for themselves that their details are captured in the revised register.
More importantly, the exhibition exercise is utilising biometric verification devices (BVDs) which will be used to verify every registered voter who visits every centre.
Indeed, the extended duration will also ensure that voters get to know their polling stations as the EC has increased the number of polling stations.
Another crucial element in the reforms introduced by the EC is the fact that the number of polling stations created have been expanded from 26,000 to 29,000 to make it easier for voters to get to polling centres near them. The additional polling stations would also reduce the pressure exerted on the BVDs and election officials during the election and make the voting process faster.
It will be recalled that in the 2012 polls, there were a lot of challenges with the BVDs.
Apart from the BVDs being used to verify the identity of registered voters, Mrs Osei pointed out that it would also afford the EC and its officials the opportunity to have a fair sense to determine the number of people who might face challenges having their identities verified by the devices and for which reason they would require manual verification.
“It is, therefore, highly imperative that persons who are re-registering due to the deletion of their names from the register because of the use of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card get to do their re-registration as early as possible.
“Beyond all these, the process can be enhanced if registered voters do not wait till the last moment to rush to the centres to check their details. The earlier they do so, the better, in order to forestall any undesirable incidents that may not augur well for the electoral process,” she stated.
Mrs Osei, therefore, called for active participation in the current voters register exhibition, as well as the re-registration of all those whose names had been deleted from the register because they had registered with NHIS card.
‘So far EC on course’
“So far, we are on course to deliver,” Mrs Osei gave the assurance, and disclosed that by the first week of September this year the commission hoped to come out with the finalised register.