The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is accusing the Electoral Commission (EC) of making dubious attempts to rig the upcoming elections through the printing of the ballot papers.
According to the NDC, one of the seven printing houses undertaking the exercise, Assembly Press, has printed about 150,000 surplus ballots aside from the 5 percent required excess ballot papers per polling station.
The National Campaign Coordinator for the NDC, Professor Joshua Alabi who addressed the media on the matter said such irregularities will not be countenanced by the party.
“By convention and practice, the EC prints an extra 5 percent of the total registered voters in each polling station to carter for spoiled ballots but what is surprising this time is that the EC is rather printing an addition 5 percent of the total registered voters per constituency in the total number of ballot papers to be printed. What this translates into is that more ballot papers are being printed in excess of the 5 percent extra ballot papers required for the polling station. From the ballot statistics from the printing houses as coming from the EC, we (NDC) have analyzed the figure from 13 regions and observed that there is an excess of over 150,000 ballot papers been printed beyond the extra 5% required.”
“This happened at the Assembly press which is one of the contractors printing the ballot papers, and we (NDC) also found out that, the Assembly Press is printing additional ballot papers at a different location on the blind side of the agents of the political parties. The NDC is completely upset with the irregularities as the MD of the Assembly Press who is an appointee of the President was an aspirant who contested the NPP 2020 parliamentary primaries in the Nkawkaw constituency and the Convener of Let My Vote Count Alliance, a pressure group of the NPP.”
When did EC start printing the ballot papers?
The Commission began the printing ballot papers for the December 7 presidential and parliamentary elections on Monday, 26th October 2020.
Seven printing houses in Accra were selected by the EC to spearhead this exercise.
There are 12 parties on the presidential ballot.
But concerns were raised about the length of this year’s presidential ballot paper owing to the unprecedented number of qualified aspirants.
The Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission in-charge of Corporate Services, Dr Bossman Eric Asare, however, said the challenge of more candidates can be overcome with better sensitization.
“As we enter the home stretch of the elections, the Commission will intensify its public education especially on how to properly vote as a way of reducing the number of rejected ballots,” Dr. Asare said.
Read the full speech read by Prof. Alabi cataloguing the NDC’s concerns below:
PRESS BRIEFING: ANOMALIES UNCOVERED IN THE ONGOING PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS FOR THE 7th DECEMBER ELECTIONS
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, you are all welcome to this emergency Press briefing. Thank you very much for making the time for us at such short notice.
As you may be aware, the Electoral Commission is currently printing ballot papers required for the upcoming Elections on December 7, 2020. By convention, and as has been done in all previous elections, Political Party Agents are deployed to monitor the printing of the ballot papers for purposes of ensuring transparency and credibility of the electoral process.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the NDC has uncovered some serious unusual and irregular happenings in the ballot printing process, which we wish to bring to the attention of the Ghanaian populace.
The issues include the following:
The Electoral Commission FAILED to provide the Ballot Statistics required for Party Agents to track the number of ballot papers to be printed for each Polling Station before printing begins. Meanwhile, in all previous printing exercises, Political Parties were furnished with copies of the Ballot Statistics before printing began, so Party Agents could have a checklist to validate the quantities of ballots printed. For the current ballot printing exercise, and in a rather shocking twist of events, the Electoral Commission rather directed the NDC to receive copies of the Ballot Statistics from the Printing Houses. One wonders how the Electoral Commission expects our Party Agents to successfully record and track the quantities of ballot papers being printed, when printing has already started.
BALLOT SERIAL NUMBERS:
Again, the Electoral Commission has blatantly refused to provide Serial Numbers of the ballot papers to be printed per Polling Station to the NDC. Serial numbers play a very important role in ballot printing and tracking. Each ballot paper printed bears a unique serial number arranged in codes according to Region, District, Constituency and Polling Station. The essence of such an elaborate design for each ballot paper is to ensure that no two or more ballot papers bear the same serial number.
The general public will recall that in the just ended Voter Registration Exercise, the Electoral Commission itself admitted that several registrants had duplicated Voter ID numbers, a situation which the EC described as an anomaly and sought to correct under dubious circumstances without recourse to the Political Parties
EXCESS BALLOT PAPERS
By convention and practice, the EC prints an extra 5% of the total registered voters in each polling station to cater for spoilt ballots. What is surprising this time around is that, the EC is rather printing an additional 5% of the total registered voters per Constituency with padding in the total number of ballot papers to be printed. What this translates into is that, more ballot papers are being printed in excess of the 5% extra ballot papers required per Polling Station.
From the Ballot Statistics received from the Printing Houses, as coming from the EC, we have analysed the figures from 13 regions and observed that there is an excess of over 150,000 ballot papers being printed beyond the extra 5% required.
STRANGE HAPPENINGS AT ASSEMBLY PRESS
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Assembly Press is one of the contractors printing the ballot papers. Just last night, the NDC found out that the Assembly Press is printing additional ballot papers in another location on its premises on the blind side of the Agents of the Political Parties.
The NDC completely abhors this irregularity, particularly, as the MD of Assembly Press (who is an appointee of the President) was an Aspirant who contested in the NPP 2020 Parliamentary Primaries in the Nkawkaw Constituency and the Convener of the Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA), pro-NPP pressure group.