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27.10.2008 Politics

EC To Mount Electronic Scoreboards

By Edmund Mingle, Koforidua - newtimesonline.com

The Electoral Commission (EC) will mount electronic scoreboards in all the 10 regional capitals to show the presidential and parliamentary results of the December 7 election.

The scoreboards, said to have been donated by a foreign company, would have one mounted at the Independence Square, Accra representing the national scoreboard to show all the results across the country.

Albert Kofi Arhin, the EC's Director of Elections, who announced this to journalists undergoing training on election reporting here on Saturday, could not immediately provide the details of the donor, but said the company was being represented by a Ghanaian.

He was optimistic that the electronic boards would speed up the process of providing results of the elections to the public.

If successful, it would be the first time the country would have electronic scoreboards for general elections.

The EC has used manual scoreboards, which involve EC personnel climbing ladders to write the results on the large boards, since the 1992, 1996 and 2000 elections in all the regional capitals.

It did not use scoreboards for the 2004 elections, but rather had one mounted at the Ghana International Press Centre where the media disseminated the results.

Mr. Arhin, speaking on preparations towards December 7, gave the assurance that adequate measures have been instituted to ensure transparency and to plug all loop holes that could be used to rig.

For instance, he said the silicon level in the indelible ink has been increased to make it impossible for voters to erase the marks on their thumbs.

In addition, he said those who have registered more than once can only vote once because any attempt to vote twice would be immediately detected at the polling station.

He said also that the declaration forms on which the returning officers issues the results and signed by the party agents, would have carbon copies distributed to the party agents, rather than the previous method of photocopying the declaration form for distribution to the agents.

“To the extent that we are asking all the parties to present reliable polling agents, it will be impossible to rig the elections by any party,” he said.

Charles Addei, Director for Training at the EC, said the Commission is expected  to engage more than 110,600 temporary staff to man the polling stations during the December 7 election.

The temporary workers, whose services he considered as crucial in the conduct of the elections, are made of 110,000 polling station staff consisting of one presiding member and assistants for each of the about 22,000 polling stations.

In addition, there would be 5,690 staff for the constituency, consisting 230 Returning officers and two deputies each for each of the 230 constituencies.

He said most of the temporary staff, who have been vetted to ascertain their credibility and neutrality, are being educated about their duties on election day.

“Whether the elections day

He said although the EC has scrutinised them after receiving the applications for the job, “we can't entirely vouch for their credibility and neutrality. We can only hope for their reliability.”

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