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04.12.2004 Politics

Voting starts at Odorkor Police station sluggishly

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Accra, Dec. 4, GNA - Failure of some security officers to present their names and documents to the Electoral Commission (EC) for the compilation of the Special Voters' Register had slowed down the process at the Odorkor Police Station.

While most of them did not know their polling stations, others also did not have their names on the special register prepared by the EC. Mr Daniel Amanyo, Ablekuma District Electoral Officer, told the Ghana News Agency that although these people did not have their names on the special register, they were compiling new lists for them, which would later be transferred.

He explained that it became necessary to compile their names because they would be on duty outside their polling stations on Election Day, December 7 and "depriving them today would mean disenfranchising them". "We have a way of reconciling such lists with the original register before the voting day and we want to assure the public that the situation is under control."

Mr Amanyo said they were expecting about 1,000 registered voters to cast their votes, however, the new compilation would slightly increase the number.

It was only the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) that sent their agents to monitor the voting. Two hundred and thirty people had already cast their votes as at 1110 hours.

At Tesano in Accra, a man who identified himself as a lecturer at GIMPA told the GNA at Tesano Police Station that he was directed to vote at New Life Primary School, but was not given the direction to the polling station.

"As early as six o'clock I was at Gbawe trying to locate the centre. I was directed to Mallam and then to Tesano Police Station, and here I am being told to go to Amasaman," he said.

He explained that GIMPA had a centre that trained people to observe exercises like an election and he was to go to the North to observe the election. However, as it is, he would have to stay and vote on Tuesday. Policemen and some other special voters, who came to Tesano Police Station, were directed to Kaneshie Police Station.

When GNA arrived at Tesano Police Station at 1000 hours about 170 people had voted and there were others waiting for their turn.

The Dome-Kwabenya Constituency was not left out in the Special Voting exercise as voters covered by the exercise thronged the polling stations to cast their vote.

Voting started the at 0730 hours at the Kwabenya Polling Station according to Mr Joe Oduro-Nyarku, the Returning Officer, who said the late start was not due to delay in arrival of voting materials. "Some of the polling assistants live far from here and we wanted to wait for everybody to arrive before starting the process to clear our minds from any doubts," he said.

Mr Oduro-Nyarku was, however, happy that the delay did not bring any long queues, as voters were not rushing to vote very early in the morning.

A total of 80 voters had exercised their franchise as at 0930 hours when the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited the station.

"There has been no problem so far except that we would have wished that we were provided with food during the exercise because under the situation, now, we would have to be leaving in turns to find food".

A sizable number of anxious voters had formed a queue at the Teshie Police Station ready to cast their ballot as early as 0630 hours. The voters waited patiently for the voting process to start at 0720 hours.

Mr Edward Okoe, Presiding Officer for the Special Voting, told the GNA that they had enough materials to complete the exercise and did not anticipate any problems.

He said about 410 voters had cast their ballot as at 1144 hours.

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