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Ghana not ready for electronic voting –EC

The Electoral Commission (EC) has said Ghana is not ready for an electronic voting system despite technological advancement in the 21st Century.

The Chairperson of the commission, Charlotte Osei, said they arrived at the conclusion based on recommendations from the Special Reform Committee tasked to investigate the possibility of the system.

Ghana has since 1992 improved on its electoral processes. In 2012, the EC for the first time adopted biometric registration and verification in capturing voters’ information to enhance the processes.

However, addressing the Editors’ Forum in Accra on Tuesday, Charlotte Osei said “the issue of electronic voting was presented to the committee and the committee felt that we were not ready for electronic voting and the Electoral Commission endorsed that decision so for now, we are not considering electronic voting in Ghana.”

She also explained that, the EC has begun implementing some 27 reforms aimed at ensuring a transparent and credible election on December 7.

Charlotte Osei told the editors that the 27 reforms came out of the Special Reform Committee set up by the after the 2012 Election Petition.

She said the reforms which they are ready to implement to the latter will ensure that the disruptions that characterized the 2012 polls are not repeated in the December polls.

Below are the 27 reforms:

  1. Hold Presidential and Parliamentary elections in November instead of December.
  2. EC to do continuous registration as well as periodic registration.
  3. Election Officials & Party Agents to take oaths before a Magistrate or Judicial officer instead of an officer of the Commission.
  4. Institutionalize IPAC.
  5. Use of the Biometric Verification Device for exhibition of the Provisional Voters Register.
  6. EC to raise the minimum educational qualification requirements for various levels of election officials.
  7. EC should improve quality of training of election officials and EC staff.
  8. PWDs and vulnerable persons should be given priority at polling stations.
  9. EC should make clear provisions regarding processes and procedures to be followed upon an adjournment of the poll.
  10. EC should improve the Compensation package for Election officials.
  11. EC should serially number the statement of Polls and the Declaration of results sheets.
  12. EC should set up a National Collation Centre to replace the “strong room”.
  13. EC to appoint collation officers for each constituency.
  14. EC to defer adoption of electronic voting.
  15. EC must ensure that election officials who breached electoral laws are sanctioned.
  16. EC should take steps to reduce rejected ballots.
  17. EC should extend the period of notice for Voter Registration exercise from 14 to 21 days.
  18. EC should be given the mandate to apply to the courts to delete names of unqualified persons from the Provisional Voters’ Register.
  19. EC should be required by law to give a copy of the Final Certified Register to Registered Political Parties at least 21 days before the elections.
  20. EC to reduce the number of voters per polling station.
  21. EC should publish an annual calendar of its activities at the beginning of an Election year.
  22. EC should publish a list of all polling stations with their codes and locations not later than 42 days to the elections. EC accepted 21days.
  23. Returning Officers should give copies of Proxy, Special and Absent Voters lists to Candidates/Parties.
  24. Returning Officers to issue copies of collation sheets to Candidates/Agents.
  25. EC to expand the list of special voters to include accredited media personnel and election observers. GJA to provide the list of accredited media to the EC.
  26. EC to publish Presidential Election Results per polling station on its website.
  27. EC to define the term “ordinarily Resident

By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana