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02.09.2015 Politics

District Level Elections end

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Accra, Sept. 1, GNA - Voting at all the 30,000 polling stations nationwide for the election of Assembly and Unit Committee members has ended successfully.

Voters were expected to under-go biometric verification by the Electoral Officers before casting their ballots under the supervision of the presiding officers, polling assistants, security officers and polling agents.

Though voting at most polling stations visited by the Ghana news Agency nationwide went on smoothly, there were some general hitches that slowed the process in some areas.

For example, most of the centres the GNA visited in the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly revealed a very low turn-out.

The apathy and seemly lack of interest in the process was confirmed by Mr Patrick Turksin, Presiding Officer at the PWD Electoral Area at East Tanokrom, who said only 37 had voted out of the 347 registered voters in that area as of 10:37 am.

The Airport Ridge Electoral Area A had only 18 people voting around 10:15 am as confirmed by Madam Millicent Sackey the presiding officer.

The situation was not different at the Airport Ridge Electoral Area B, where Mr. Governor Azankpo said 17 out of 557 voters had cast their ballot.

At Osu Kinkawe, some residents told the GNA they had lost interest in the elections, because they had not seen any development in their areas, and would therefore not participate.

'I will suggest that these elections should be tied to the presidential and parliamentary elections, so that the assembly officers elected will work closely with Members of Parliament who will be elected to bring development in our areas,' Nii Amartey, an auto mechanic said.

In the Asante-Akim South, the GNA learnt that there were no reported incidence of confusion in any of the polling centres.

Materials for the elections were delivered on time, and the biometric verification devices (BVD's) did not present any challenges.

A visit to some of the centres by GNA showed a calm and more relaxed atmosphere, as voters waited for their turns to vote.

Mr Paul Bright Gyekye, Presiding Officer at the Juaso Post Office Square Centre, said voting gone on well and they did not anticipate any problems.

His only concern had to do with the poor voter turn-out, but expressed the hope that it would pick up.

Generally, there appeared to be lack of enthusiasm in the elections to pick assembly and unit committee members in the area, and this was evident from the number of people who had cast their ballots almost four hours into voting.

At the Post Office Square, only nine out of the voter population of 565 had voted, with 15 people out of 399 registered to vote at the Juaso Court Hall Centre having shown up when the GNA visited the centres.

The low voter turn-out therefore became widespread, and election officials did not hide their worry.

A tour of some centres at Asuoyeboa in Kumasi by reporters of the GNA confirmed voter disinterest and apathy.

The centres visited included the SSNIT Flat Post Office Centre, the SSNIT Flat 'B', SSNIT Flat Block 'A' and the Rafael International School Centre 'A' where officials were seen waiting for voters

In Sunyani the general interest towards the election was said to be very low according to Mr. Francis Eshun, presiding officer of Berlin-top electoral area.

He stated that a total of 117 voters consisting of 61 males and 56 females had cast their votes out of 578 total number in the voters register as at 1400 hours.

At Twene Amanfo, 138 of the electorate had cast their votes as at 14:50 pm, out of a total number of 906 in the register.

In all the polling centers visited by the GNA in Sunyani , the presiding officers complained that majority of the voters visited the centres without their identification cards, but were allowed to vote since their names were in the register and were also identified by their pictures in the register and the verification machine.

They said some even came to the polling centres with Health Insurance Cards and other identification cards, with the excuse that they had lost their voters ID or left them at home.

In Koforidua, the non- functioning of the Biometric Verification Devices (BVD) at many polling stations delayed the early start of the in the Municipality.

Some polling stations visited by the GNA within the municipality showed that the BVDs were not working, thus hindering the voting process.

At the Social Welfare A and B polling stations, there were challenges with their BVDs and the voters were waiting on the EC technicians to fix them before they could cast their votes as at 8.17am.

The story was the same at the AME Zion Primary School Polling Station as at 8.28 am, while at the Kwaku Octere Depot, though the machine broke down, it was later fixed to allow voters to cast their votes around 8.40 am.

In general, voter turn-out had not been encouraging at the centres visited.

At the Glamor Polling Station, the electoral officials were set, but nobody had cast a vote and there were no voters at the polling station as at 8.00 am

In all, a total of 40,000 security personnel were selected from the various security agencies, and deployed nationwide to ensure peaceful elections.

Elections were postponed in some of the areas due to challenges, including court injunctions.

The elections originally scheduled for March were postponed when an aggrieved aspirant went to court as a result of which about 300 million Ghana Cedis was lost


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