Serial numbers are irrelevant to polls results – Afari-Gyan

BY: Isaac Yeboah

Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan has disagreed sharply with calls by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and his co-petitioners for the annulment of polling station results pink sheets bearing duplicate serial numbers in the 2012 elections.

While the petitioners have averred that the duplication amounted to an irregularity and could be a conduit for padding votes, seeking in essence that more than 2.5 million votes be annulled, Dr. Afari-Gyan said on the contrary, the serial numbers affect the results in no way whatsoever.

Led in evidence by his counsel, James Quashie-Idun, Dr. Afari-Gyan told the court that while the serial numbers had absolutely no relevance to voting results, they also had no reference in the constitution or any statute.

Serial numbers, he said, may be important only to the extent that they help to keep they count of the pink sheets, but have no effect at all on the outcome of the polls. The serial numbers on the pink sheets, he pointed out, are generated by the firm that printed the pink sheets and not by the commission.

According to Dr. Afari-Gyan, unique codes and names identify polling stations, and he was surprised that in spite of the insistence of the petitioners that serial numbers were crucial in identifying polling stations and therefore affected polls results, he was yet to know anybody at the hearing identify a polling station by a serial number.

He insisted that “if two pink sheets have the same serial number for two polling stations, it will have no effect on the validity of the results” because two different codes, two different presiding officers and two different sets of candidates’ agents will endorse the different sheets. In addition there will be two entirely different sets of results.
“So I see no problem,” he told the court.

“When results are taken to a collation centre, they are dealt with on the basis of polling station codes and not serial numbers, so I see no basis at all for the confusion on serial numbers.”

Nana Akufo-Addo, New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate in the 2012 elections, his running mate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, are asking the court to overturn the verdict of the polls that saw President John Mahama declared winner. They claim Nana Akufo-Addo should have won the polls but for malpractices and irregularities.

Story: Isaac Yeboah/