The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) is calling on the Electoral Commission (EC) to investigate claims of alleged electoral malpractices during the referendums for the creation of new regions.
According to CODEO, although the elections took place in a 'calm and peaceful' electoral environment, there were a number of reports of alleged electoral anomalies during the process.
CODEO further called for the prosecution of persons found to have indulged in various alleged malpractices during the exercise.
Videos of some persons allegedly thumbprinting multiple ballots papers have gone viral on social media with many suggesting that the acts took place during Thursday’s referendum.
Although CODEO in a statement said its 50 observers cannot attest to seeing such malpractices, it is important for the EC to investigate the issue.
“CODEO has taken notice of a number of videos circulating on social media platforms showing possible infractions of the electoral rules of the country. Although CODEO is unable to verify the location of the alleged infractions or the authenticity of the videos, CODEO strongly urges the EC and the Police Service to take an interest in these videos and conduct their own investigations to protect the integrity of the process”
“CODEO is also calling on the EC and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to ensure that any person–including electoral officials found to have violated the electoral laws face the full rigors of the law. Until individuals are held criminally accountable for their actions, it will be difficult to deter the rampant violations of electoral laws which risk undermining Ghana's hard-worn democratic stability.”
CODEO also complained about the voter turnout at the referendum as well as abnormally high numbers of persons who went through the manual verification process at some polling centres despite the presence of properly functioning biometric verification devices.
“CODEO observers documented wide disparities and unusually high numbers of manual verification across various polling stations observed. At some polling stations where counting of ballots and results declaration were observed by CODEO, the number of voters who were manually verified were found to be more than the number of voters who went through biometric verification.
“Per electoral regulations by the Electoral Commission (EC), manual verification is typically a back-up plan for instances where there are challenges with biometric verification of voters and/or mal-function of the devices. Given that observers generally reported smooth performance of the BVDs and the fact that all polling stations were equipped with back-up BVD machines, it is still not clear to CODEO why unusually high numbers of voters were manually verified instead of biometric verification.”
By: Godwin Allotey | Citinewsroom.com | Ghana