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December 7 polls: Results in 24 hours - EC assures

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Mrs Jean Mensa
Mrs Jean Mensa

The Electoral Commission (EC) has given a firm assurance that it is set to declare the results of the December 7, 2020 polls within 24 hours.

Towards achieving the historic feat, the commission has put in place an efficient manual collation system to ensure that the results that are collated from the polling stations reach the national office, at least, by midnight of voting day.

The Chairperson of the commission, Mrs Jean Mensa, who stated this at a meeting with the Council of State in Accra yesterday, also announced that the commission was 98 per cent ready to conduct the December 7, polls and would not let down its guard in fulfilling that mandate.

She explained that if the EC successfully delivered the election results in 24 hours, it would be the first time since the beginning of the Fourth Republic.

“We are using fax and emails for the transmission of the results, so we are setting up 16 fax codes and 16 backup emails to represent the 16 regions,” she said.

Timelines

Mrs Mensa said the commission had given definite timelines to its staff from the polling stations to the national level to ensure that the results were collated and relayed in record time.

"In terms of the timelines, we have given our staff at the polling stations one-and-a-half hours after the polls to send the results to the constituency collation centres; the constituency centre will then collate the results in three hours and forward them to the regional collation centre, and once they get there, they have five hours to collate and forward them to the national office," she said.

Explaining further, the EC chairperson said as part of measures to reduce long queues and enhance the chances of collating the results early, the EC had ensured that no polling station had more than 749 registered voters.

"The threshold for polling stations has been set at 749 voters per polling station, and currently, about 70 per cent of the polling stations have 500 persons or less, and with this arrangement, we will finish ahead of time," she added.

Ensuring that every register did not have more than 749 names had resulted in 10,000 more polling stations, taking the number of centres for the conduct of the 2020 polls to 38,622, Mrs Mensa said.

Readiness

The chairperson said the commission had recruited and trained 233,632 temporary staff for deployment to all polling stations for the successful conduct of the polls.

Additionally, she said all materials required for the conduct of the elections, including ballot boxes, thumbprint pads, stationery, identification jackets and indelible ink, have been procured and distributed to all the districts.

The EC boss also said all Presidential ballot papers had been printed and distributed while the printing and distribution of parliamentary ballot papers were almost done too.

“Currently, we are working on the distribution of the parliamentary ballot papers and we are confident that by Monday, November 23, we would have finished it,” she said.

She added that 74,800 new biometric verification devices (BVDs) had been deployed to the district offices of the commission and were currently in police custody.

Special voting

Touching on the special voting scheduled for December 1, for security agencies, journalists and other categories of voters, Mrs Mensa said all was set for the exercise to be held as planned.

The EC chairperson said over 109,000 voters had been given the green light to vote on that date ahead of the main December 7 polls.

She debunked allegations by some persons that many security agencies who applied to participate in the special voting exercise had been denied the opportunity.

“The EC captured every single person who applied for special voting with the exception of those who had issues with their voter ID cards. Some of those people had ID cards with the number less than 10 digits and we had to even call some of them to come for rectification. So it is not true that the EC wants to deny some security persons the chance to be part of special voting,” she stressed.

Multiples and exemptions list

Responding to calls for the EC to publish the list of persons on the multiple and exemptions list, she said the commission would do that on its website by Monday.

Throwing more light on the lists, she said 7,901 individuals were found to have engaged in 18,619 multiple registration during the voter registration exercise and had been accordingly isolated from the main voters register.

She added that others, comprising minors, foreigners and persons not ordinarily resident in the area of registration, had also been identified by the system and put on the exemptions list.

“We are not required by law to publish the list of these people, but in the interest of transparency, the EC will publish the lists on our website on Monday together with the registers,” she said.

EC commended

For his part, the Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, commended the EC for living above reproach in carrying through processes for free, fair and transparent elections.

Particularly, he said, the Chairperson of the EC and her two deputies needed to be commended for being bold in the processes of compiling a new credible register against all the odds.

He called on all stakeholders to collaborate with the commission to ensure that the elections, which would be conducted in less than three weeks, were successful.