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23.12.2008 Elections

No recount at collation centres EC

By Daily Graphic
No recount at collation centres  EC
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The Electoral Commission has declared that no recounting of ballots is allowed at collation centres. It has also denied that any such thing occurred during the December 7 polls.

It stressed that it was only the collation and re-collation of ballots that took place at the collation centres and the recount could only take place at the polling stations.

According to the Director of Election at the EC, Mr Albert Arhin, the country's electoral laws stated categorically that the recount of ballots could only occur at the polling station and not a the collation centre and said it was important not to confuse the two.

He dismissed claims that the recounting of ballots took place at some collation centres during the December 7 polls.

Mr Arhin made the declaration at a workshop organised by the national Peace Councils (NPC) in Accra yesterday.

The workshop was attended by officials of the National Election Security Task Force, the media and representatives of the two parties contesting the December 28 run-off, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The Director of International Affairs of the NPP, Mr Charles Owiredu, represented his party, while Madam Hannah Tetteh, the Director of Communications of the NDC, Alex Segbefia, the Campaign Coordinator and Mr Victor Gbeho represented the NDC.

According to Mr Arhin, after the counting of ballots at the polling station, any aggrieved party could call for a recount and said ideally the counting of votes should not occur more than two times.

He said on the contrary, the collation of votes required the addition of votes from the various polling stations and indicated that in some instances re-collation could occur more than twice, especially in cases where parties doing the collation failed to get the mentioned figures right in the course of the collation and had to- ensure that all computer figures were well synchronised.

He said after the counting of ballots at the polling station and all parties had agreed and appended their signatures to the figures, it was only a court judge who could authorise the recount of ballots after the results had been gazetted.

DCOP Patrick Timbilla of the National Election Security Task Force said the task force did not anticipate the situation where some people would hijack ballot boxes during the first round of voting, as occurred in some polling stations at Akwatia.

He gave the assurance that the security agencies would beef up their presence at all polling stations in the country during the December 28 run-off to prevent such occurrences.

He dismissed claims by the representatives of the NDC that the Aflao Border had been closed because of the December 28 run-off and said rather there were border patrols by the security agencies to ensure that unapproved routes were not used as entry and exit points.

Commenting on concerns raised by the NPP representative, Mr Owiredu, over the arrest of persons believed to have hijacked bal10t boxes at Akwatia, the election security task force officials said some suspects had been arrested, put before court and remanded to reappear.

They urged the parties to be vigilant at the various polling stations during the run-off, stressing that security of the process should be a shared responsibility.

"The police cannot be everywhere and that is why party agents must be alert," the task force said.

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