6 December 2012

Ghana: We Are Ready - EC

The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr Kowado Afari Gyan says the commission is fully prepared to exercise its mandate of conducting a credible election on Friday, 7 December, 2012.

Mr. Afari Gyan told journalists yesterday at the international Press Centre that all materials needed for the conduct of the elections are already on the field.

According to him, the special voting, which took place last Tuesday, was indicative of the fact that "the EC has robust machines to do the job".

The Tuesday special voting came along with many challenges, as some registered voters could not find their names on the register, but Dr. Afari Gyan said the Authorities who furnished the EC with names of their personnel are to blame.

He was, however, confident that such challenges are not likely to arise on Friday. To him, majority of the polling stations have registered voters below thousand in the register, adding that logistics to the few populated stations have adequately been catered for.

He hinted some firm decisions that have been agreed upon with the leadership of the various political parties, some of which includes the fact that persons who do not go through a verification process cannot vote on Election Day.

The only exception would be for people who do not have fingers, or persons whose biometric data could not be taken or captured by the verification machines. These categories of people have special identification, which will be their picture showing on the verification machine.

He also emphasized that persons who have misplaced their ID cards can vote, only if they have their data on the verification machine.

Again, in instances where the ballot out numbers the number of eligible voters in a particular polling centre, the results of that station will be cancelled and the elections conducted in the station again.

He further noted that the laws governing the conduct of elections make room for extension for the voting period beyond 5pm on Election Day, when there are still people in the queue waiting to cast their ballot. "So people don't need permission to extend the voting time," he added.

Dr. Afari Gyan was particular about the importance of polling agents who said would be the once to authenticate the numbers at each station before they are handed over to the EC, and thus tasked the various parties to select effective agents to ensure a free and fair elections. He said that certified results from any polling station would only be counted at the instructions of the high court.

Commenting on the issues of minors who have their names on the register, he said: "if you see the kids in the queue on Friday, be patient with them and allow them to vote."

He said, since they have passed through the procedure of registration and validation, the kids cannot not be stopped from exercising their vote.

It also emerged that the over three thousand persons in the Kasena Nankana District will not have the opportunity to cast their vote on Friday.

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