26
Mon, Sep

Electronic transmission decision not unilateral - EC

Mr Eric Kofi Dzakpasu

The Electoral Commission (EC) has explained that the decision to put in place an Electronic Results Transmission System (ERTS) for the 2016 Election was not taken unilaterally by the commission.

“It was part of the many reform proposals made by the Electoral Reform committee which was set up by the Commission after the 2012  Supreme Court judgment on the Presidential Election Petition,” the commission pointed out.

Reacting to an allegation by the Campaign Manager of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Peter Mac Manu, to the effect that the ERTS lacked transparency, Mr Eric Kofi Dzakpasu, Head of Communications at the Electoral Commission, further explained that the committee’s proposal on the ERTS recommended that hand-held scanners should be used to scan constituency collation forms that contained polling station results and sent electronically and directly to the National Collation Centre. 

Additionally, he explained that the committee recommended that the hard copies would be sent physically to the head office of the EC. 

According to Mr Dzakpasu, since the transparency of the collation of votes was critical to the acceptability of the declaration of the results, these steps should be taken to further open up the collation process to as many members of the public as possible. 

NPP Dissatisfied

“The NPP is not happy with moves by the EC to opt for the electronic transmission of results for the December 7 polls,” Mr Mac Manu pointed out.

According to Mr Mac Manu, the EC had failed to invite any of the political parties to attend the demonstration of the system by the five companies shortlisted for the contract.

“First, there is no law which gives the EC the mandate to electronically transmit results. Nothing in the law before Parliament now, C.I. 94, makes mention of it,” he said, adding that the EC should not focus on using the system in the coming election.

No decision

However, Mr Dzakpasu assured  the public that no decision had yet been made on the ERTS.

“In furtherance of our commitment to transparency, the commission intends to make the company selection process as inclusive as possible,’’ he stated.

He said  the commission had always dealt with leaders of political parties and other stakeholders with utmost good faith and on the basis of trust.

‘’It is, therefore, natural for the commission to expect that the political parties will relate to us on the same terms,’’  he underscored.

Make a decision

Mr Dzakpasu said already, invitations had been prepared to be sent out from the week beginning from August 1 to all relevant stakeholders to participate in a demonstration exercise by the shortlisted companies.

The commission ‘’will only make a decision on the vendor after this exercise has been completed,” he assured.

He assured everyone, particularly the political parties, that the EC’s “doors are always open for any clarifications or concerns they may have on our processes”.

He said the commission would continue to engage the parties on all the processes leading up to the 2016 election, since the parties are key partners in delivering credible and transparent electoral outcomes.