Voting process commendable but collation was less transparent – EU Observers on Ghana’s election

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The European Union Election Observation Mission Ghana has released its report on the conduct of the 2020 parliamentary and presidential elections.

The 12-page report among other things described the voting process as well managed, transparent counting but protracted collation if results.

“Opening was observed in 34 polling stations and only 14 of them opened on time. Of the remaining 20, 19 opened within an hour and one opening was delayed for more than an hour. The main reasons were unpreparedness and lack of polling staff. Opening procedures were largely followed and overall conduct of opening was assessed positively in 31 cases.

Voting was conducted in a generally peaceful atmosphere and voting procedures were mostly followed, including the biometric verification of voters.

The EU EOM observers reported several irregularities, such as voters not always marking their ballot in secrecy, mainly due to poor layout of polling stations (in 17 per cent of polling stations observed), biometric verification devices (BVD) not always able to successfully verify the voters (9 per cent), presence of unauthorised persons inside the polling stations (8 per cent) and interference with the work of the polling station staff (4 per cent). Party agents from both NPP and NDC were present in all but one polling station visited. The overall conduct of voting was assessed positively in 95 per cent of the 329 polling stations observed. The EC deployed COVID-19 ambassadors to all polling stations to enforce health protocols.”

The report said: “Counting, observed in 30 polling stations, was conducted in a largely transparent manner and always in a presence of party agents. The overall conduct of the counting process was assessed positively in 27 cases. However, the EU EOM observers reported that procedures, such as counting of unused ballots, counting of ticks in the voter register and names reference list, counting of ballots in the ballot box, cross-checking the number of ballots in the ballot box against the number of ticks in the voter register, and recording the number of voters verified by the BVD and manually, were frequently not followed. Furthermore, presiding officers appeared to have difficulties completing the result forms. The polling station result forms were not publicly displayed in 17 polling stations although party agents received signed copy of the result form in all cases.

Collation of results at the constituency level was observed in 35 constituency collation centres with many of them being visited repeatedly. Collation process was less well organised and less transparent often due to a lack of detailed procedures, inadequate facilities and overcrowding which at times led to agents and observers not having a clear view of the procedures and the filling in of result forms. Instances of unrest and tension were observed in Asawase, Sunyani West and Techiman South constituencies. The results were collated in the presence of party agents and observers and key transparency measures were adhered to.”

Source: rainbownradioonline