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EC cautions special voters to cast vote or forfeit civic right

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe

The Electoral Commission (EC) has asked all persons who are on the special voting list to go and vote at designated special voting centres across the country on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 or risk missing out on exercising their franchise on the main election day.

The Deputy Chairman of the EC in charge of Operations, Mr Samuel Tettey, said any person on the special voting list who failed to turn up at the polling station to vote on December 1 would not be able to cast his or her ballot on December 7 when the general election would take place.

"I want to let all people on the special voting list know that they need to go and vote on December 1; if not, they will lose the opportunity to vote. This is because by law, their names will be put on the absent voters list, so if they go to their original polling stations to vote on election day, they will not be able to do so," he said.

Mr Tettey said this when the Daily Graphic contacted the EC on its preparedness for the special voting.

He explained that all was set for the over 109,000 registered voters to cast their ballots in the special voting because all materials had been deployed to the specially designated polling stations in the 275 constituencies across the country.

Special voting

Special voting is a dispensation provided by law to allow registered voters who will not be able to present themselves at their polling stations on the main election day because of the roles they play in the elections to vote on a date before the rest of the electorate vote on the date set for the election.

The EC is organising the special voting in compliance with provisions of the Public Elections Regulations, 2016 (C.I. 94).

Persons who qualify to vote under the special voting include members of the security services and agencies, personnel of the National Ambulance Service, accredited media persons, the National Media Commission and staff of the EC.

Electoral officers will not be part of this special voting exercise, as they had not been recruited at the time the EC was compiling the list.

Mr Tettey explained that the officers would vote on the main voting day.

“At the time we were compiling the special voters list, we had not recruited the electoral officers. We have instructed district electoral officers to let the electoral officers work where they registered, so they can vote and continue to do their work,” he explained.

Regulation 23 (1) of C.I. 94 states: “A voter may apply to the returning officer of the constituency in which the voter is registered to be entered as a special voter if, as a result of election duties, the voter will not be able to be present at the polling station where the voter is registered on election day.”

The C.I. further states in Regulation 23(7): “A person whose name is entered on the special voters list shall vote at a polling station specified by the commission and on a day not more than seven days before the polling day appointed by the returning officer and advertised in the manner that the commission may direct.”

Designated polling centres

In fulfilment of this provision, the EC has designated polling centres in all the 275 constituencies for the special voting exercise.

Voters will be required to vote at a designated voting centre within each constituency.

A special voting list and schedule published on the EC’s website indicates that the district offices of the EC, police stations, schools, community centres and other public places have been approved as polling stations for the special voting.

Mr Tettey also explained that the polling stations had been broken into more centres of 650 people each.

Regional breakdown

The Daily Graphic analysis of the special voting list shows that about 25,000 people on the special voting list will vote in the Greater Accra Region, while over 16,000 will cast their ballots in the Ashanti Region.

The Central and the Eastern regions have 8,578 and 7,900 special voters, respectively, while the Volta and the Northern regions have 7,327 and 6,344, respectively.

The Upper East Region has 5,948; Bono East, 5,691; Western, 5,388, and Bono, 5,067.

The Upper West and the Savannah regions have 3,459 and 3,151, respectively, with the Ahafo Region recording 2,801 people.

The Oti Region has 2,795; Western North, 1,758, and North East, 1,454.

Centres above 1000

Unlike the December 7 polls where no polling station will have more than 750 registered voters, 14 designated centres for special voting have more than 1,000 voters on the list, with seven of those centres being in the Greater Accra Region.

They are Dadekotopon, 3,749; Adentan, 1,339; Ledzekuku, 1,266, and Tema West, 1,263.

The other three centres are Ayawaso West Wuogon, 1,116; Okaikwei South, 1,077 and Ayawaso Central, 1,063.

The Volta and the Bono East regions also have two centres each with more than 1,000 people on the special voting list.

Ho Central and Ketu South in the Volta Region have 1,472 and 1,197, respectively, while Techiman South and Atebubu Amantin in Bono East have 1,267 and 1,050, respectively.

The only centre in the Ashanti Region that has more than 1,000 special voters is Subin, with the Central Region also having 1,173 voters in Assin Central.a