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17.12.2019 General News

Sunyani: EC Officials Allegedly Block Visually Impaired Person From Voting

Sunyani: EC Officials Allegedly Block Visually Impaired Person From Voting
LISTEN DEC 17, 2019

Officials of the Electoral Commission (EC) at the ‘Sacred Heart A’ polling centre in the Sunyani Municipality of the Bono Region reportedly prevented a visually impaired person from casting his ballot.

Information gathered by Citi News suggested that he was barred from voting though he had gone through the required voting process and had been verified.

The Presiding Officer for the centre is alleged to have prevented him from voting because he was not consulted before he was brought to the centre to be assisted to vote.

Though EC officials declined to speak on the matter, the visually impaired voter, John Kwame Arhin narrated his side of the story.

“I called on one of my colleagues to go and help me vote. So when we got to the centre, we were able to to go through all the processes. I was verified and given the ballot paper to go and vote. Unexpectedly, one gentleman came and said, he will not allow us to vote arguing that the person assisting me has no rights to enable me to vote. I cannot see, how do I even identify the names of the people on the ballot paper and vote.”

“I explained things to him but he insisted that he will not allow me to vote. He maintained that we had to see the Presiding Officer. I asked him to take us to the Presiding Officer but he said because of what we have done, he is calling the police to arrest us”, he lamented.

Persons With Disability at polls

Ahead of the elections, the EC assured that persons with disability will not be allowed to join long queues at the various centres.

“The Commission has also made arrangements for persons with disabilities. All eligible voters are informed that persons with disabilities are required to join long queues at the polling stations and therefore must be given the opportunity to vote anytime they arrive at the polling station.”

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has given a generally favorable initial assessment of the District Assembly and Unit Committee elections held today .

In its midday situational statement, it, however, noted that there were some logistics challenges at about half of the polling stations visited.

CODEO said at the time of the setting up of polling stations, all materials needed for the elections were available in 50.2 percent of polling stations. Situational reports

For example, electoral officers at various polling stations in the La Dadekotopon Constituency in the Greater Accra Region complained about the Electoral Commission's inability to provide some logistics for the district level elections.

The polls at the Sokpayiri electoral area in the Wa municipality of the Upper Region were canceled because the officials did not have ballot paper s .

“Observers reported unavailability of the following voting materials in some polling stations at the time of set-up,” the statement said.

The necessary voting materials include the Ballot Box, Ballot Papers, Indelible Ink, Voting Screen, Validating Stamp, Ink Pad, Endorsing Ink and Tactile Ballot Papers.

Aside from this, CODEO's assessments of procedure were positive.

Its observers reported that poll officials generally adhered to polling station set-up and opening protocols.

“At 97.6% of polling stations, ballot boxes were shown to be empty, sealed, and placed in the public view before voting commenced. However, in 2.4% of polling stations, this standard practice was not followed by election officials.”