Today, December 1, marks the beginning of the actual voting process as workers of the Electoral Commission (EC), some members of the security agencies and journalists cast their ballots in a special early voting exercise.
The special voting exercise affords key individuals and groups who will be playing special roles on Election Day on December 7 the opportunity to cast their votes ahead of the main polls.
The EC has, therefore, designated 284 polling stations across the country in the 275 constituencies where the exercise is being conducted.
Before today, however, the special voting exercise had been embroiled in some controversy, with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) raising the red flag over the exercise, alleging that there were over 98,000 special voters who still had their names on the main voters list, contrary to provisions in the electoral law.
According to the NPP, the names of special voters were supposed to be put on an absentee list to ensure that a person who voted during the special voting did not appear at the polling station during the main election to vote again.
It, therefore, demanded immediate action from the EC to deal with the anomaly, but it is not certain if the EC was able to do that before today.
The NPP also alleged that at least 13,000 new names had been added to the special voters list after the period allowed by law to compile it had elapsed, thereby pushing the figure to 127,277, from the original 114,813 announced earlier by the EC.
It quoted the Deputy Chairman of the EC in charge of Operations, Mr Amadu Sulley, as saying that the new list included 500 new police recruits who had just passed out.
However, the EC’s Head of Communications, Mr Eric Fleming Kofi Dzakpasu, has been reported as saying that the EC expects 127,394 validly registered voters to take part in the special voting, declaring that the commission is ready to conduct the exercise.
He said each of the 275 constituencies in the country was entitled to at least one special voting centre but some had more centres as a result of the very huge voter population in some constituencies, such as La Dadekotopon.
The Daily Graphic finds the assurance given by Mr Dzakpasu that all the necessary materials in terms of ballot papers, pink sheets, biometric verification devices, ballot boxes, as well as the register of the special voters, were in place for the special voting very timely and prays that the exercise will be very successful at all the designated centres.
We believe that, if for nothing at all, the success of the special voting exercise will boost the morale of all Ghanaians towards the main elections on December 7.
The Daily Graphic believes that, as is the case with elections globally, there may be some challenges as media men, EC staff and some security personnel cast their ballots today.
We, however, urge the EC to use the exercise as an opportunity to quickly correct any anomalies or challenges that may be encountered today, so that they are not repeated on December 7 when the rest of the country goes to the polls.
The whole world is watching and we dare not fail to assure all that Ghana is, indeed, the bastion of democracy and an oasis of peace in a turbulent sub-region.