25.08.2006 General News

FTC To Rule On December 2004 Ballot Papers

By pfm
FTC To Rule On December 2004 Ballot Papers
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An Accra Fast Track High Court would on August 28, rule on a motion on notice for variation of an injunction order filed by the Electoral Commission (EC) seeking direction on where the ballot papers of the December 7, 2004 Elections should be kept after they had been removed from the ballot boxes.

The EC has in its custody ballot papers in some ballot boxes following a court injunction restraining it from destroying them pending the determination of a case before it. The Commission is saying that due to the extensive nature of the September 12 District Assemblies Elections, it would need the ballot boxes containing the papers. It said it was seeking necessary directions from the Court as where the ballot papers should be kept after they had been removed from the ballot boxes.

The EC in its supplementary affidavit in support of the motion said it had real need to use all the ballot boxes, which were used for the Presidential and Parliamentary elections for the September District Level Elections. The Commission said it would need a total of 42,000 ballot boxes to conduct the Elections. It said transparent ballot boxes were specially designed for public elections, and it would be impossible for the Commission to obtain an alternate supply of those boxes for the District Elections scheduled for September 12, 2006.

It suggested that sealed packets of ballot papers should be stored in any safe location as the Court might direct. Mr Tony Lithur, who represented Mr Rojo Mettle Nunoo, Squadron Leader Clend Sowu (rtd) and Mr Kofi Portuphy opposed to the motion. In an affidavit in opposition Mr Sowu with the consent of his colleagues said if the application was granted, it would not only vary the injunction order of December 14, 2005. It would permit the EC to tamper with electoral material, which was the subject matter to the injunction order.

The affidavit drew the Court's attention to a referral of the same matter to the Supreme Court saying if the application were granted it could also undermine its outcome. It noted that the application was vague and gave little detail about the real needs of the Commission saying it assumed that EC had "a right to tamper with the electoral material by removing the same from ballot boxes. "The present suit touches on governance issues and, therefore, the integrity of the ballot boxes and other electoral material should be preserved in the manner dictated by the injunction order of December 14, 2005."

It said the EC should be able to make other arrangements for the District Level Elections so as not to undermine the sanctity of the initial order of the Court. "It should have made alternative arrangements for the ballot boxes ahead of time. It cannot, therefore, use the District Level Election as an excuse to apply at this time for the variation of the injunction orders of December, 2005."

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