Ghana’s election management body, the Electoral Commission (EC), has expressed confidence in the credibility and integrity of the 2020 Voters Register that would be used for the December 7 general election.
The EC announced that it collaborated and cooperated with the citizenry at all levels particularly at the district, as well as magistrates, to ensure only eligible Ghanaians participated in the registration process to ensure free, fair and transparent election.
The Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs Jean Mensa, who disclosed this in Parliament on Saturday, indicated there are 17,029,971 voters on the newly compiled Voters Register.
She assured Parliament that the Commission is 95% ready to conduct a successful, credible, fair, orderly, and peaceful election in December.
According to her, a wide variety of election materials for the elections including ballot boxes, thumbprint pads, stationery, identification jackets, polling station booths, rechargeable lamps, indelible ink, educational posters, seals among others have been procured.
Distribution of the items, she said, is underway and stressed that due to the thorough planning mechanisms employed, 95% of the distribution to various locations across the country has been done with the exception of the ballot papers.
Brand New BVDs
The EC chairperson explained that 74,800 brand new Biometric Verification Devices (BVDs) have been procured and are being prepared for the election.
She assured that the enhanced features of the devices will speed up the verification process and go a long way to ensure that only persons whose biometric details are captured in the system vote on Election Day.
Mrs Mensa pointed out that the BVDs have record of both fingerprints as well as the facial features of each unique individual.
Accordingly, in the event where an individual has lost the use of his/her fingers, the facial recognition feature will be employed to identify the voter.
She noted that the use of both features will go a long way to enhance the integrity of the Polls.
Mrs Mensa disclosed that 233,632 temporary officials made up of Returning Officers and their Deputies, Presiding Officers, Verification Officers, Name Reference Officers as well as COVID-19 Ambassadors would be employed for the elections.
A comprehensive training programme, the chairperson of the Commission said, has been drawn for each category officials.
“We are confident that with the capacity building provided, our teams will be equipped with the requisite skills to enable them to perform excellently on Election Day,” she assured.
38,622 polling stations
Mrs. Mensa disclosed that the Commission has created 38,622 Polling Stations across the country, 5,000 more than in 2019.
The threshold set for the Polling Stations is 749 voters per polling station, however, more than 70% of the polling stations have 500 voters or less.
A total of 32,621 persons, she said, have been placed on a multiple and exception list out of which 18,619 engaged in multiple registrations while 14,002 engaged in various illegal practices including under-aged voting and registration by non-Ghanaians.
She, however, explained that the 18,619 names on the multiples list refer to individuals and that the number reflects the total number of multiple registrations.
Certified voters register
Mrs Mensa indicated that the printing of the certified copies of the 2020 Register is currently underway and assured the process will be completed for distribution well in time for December 2020 election.
“The political parties have submitted their hard drives to the Commission. A soft copy of the register was made available to them on the 6th of November 2020,” she said.
Printing of Pink sheets
Mrs Mensa indicated that the printing of results collation sheets referred to as Pink Sheets commenced on Sunday 8th November 2020 with all Political Parties duly informed to monitor the process throughout.
The EC, she said, has since the beginning of the year engaged in continuous dialogue with the security agencies under the auspices of the National Security Task Force.
“To date, we have provided them with relevant information to assist them in carrying out their duties on Election Day. This includes information on all Polling Centers, Collation Centers, potential flashpoint areas among others.”
“This collaboration goes down to the regional and district levels. We intend to increase our engagement as we head towards the elections in December.”
The EC, she said, has also procured COVID-19 items and put in place stringent safety protocols to ensure the safety and security of its stakeholders and help curb the spread of the virus.
Distribution of materials
Mrs Mensa indicated that the items, including Thermometer Guns, Veronica Buckets, Sanitizers, Liquid Soap, and Tissue Paper have been distributed to the regions and districts ahead of the election.
She expressed confidence the protocols put in place and the materials procured will help curb the spread of the virus at all polling stations and collation centers throughout the country.