Deal with surge in rejected ballots in Ghana’s elections – EC told

Chair of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa
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Care for Free and Fair Elections Ghana (“CARE” GHANA) has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to put in place measures to curb the surge in rejected ballots in Ghana’s national elections.

According to CARE Ghana, since the beginning of the forth republic, records from the EC shows that, one million four hundred and ninety eight thousand and eighty five (1,498,085) ballots have been rejected in eight national elections.

This, the body said, indicates that, voters have been unable to cast their ballots the right way, making it tough for the choice of the electorate to be known. This precipitates the growing concern about the surge in ballot papers rejected in national elections.

“Irrespective of the progress made by the introduction of reforms, rejected ballots continue to pose a threat to electoral advancement and Ghana’s quest for democratic consolidation.

“For instance, 149,813, 111,108, and 119,372 ballots were rejected in 1992, 1996 and in 2000 elections respectively, while in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections, rejected ballots were 188,123; 205,643; 243,280; and 167,349 respectively.

“Occasionally, these rejected ballots amounts to colossal percentages of the votes in excess of the total number of votes garnered by all the smaller political parties,” a statement by CARE Ghana said on Monday December 13.

Below is their full statement…

“CARE” GHANA CALLS ON EC TO PUT IN PLACE MEASURES TO END THE FINANCIAL LOSS OF OVER GHC14 MILLION TO THE STATE RESULTING FROM REJECTED BALLOTS

Care for Free and Fair Elections Ghana (“CARE” GHANA) calls on the Electoral Commission (EC) to put in place measures to curb the surge in rejected ballots in Ghana’s national elections. Since the beginning of the forth republic, records from the Electoral Commission (EC) shows that, one million four hundred and ninety eight thousand and eighty five (1,498,085) ballots have been rejected in eight national elections. This indicates that, voters have been unable to cast their ballots the right way, making it tough for the choice of the electorate to be known. This precipitates the growing concern about the surge in ballot papers rejected in national elections.

Irrespective of the progress made by the introduction of reforms, rejected ballots continue to pose a threat to electoral advancement and Ghana’s quest for democratic consolidation. For instance, 149,813, 111,108, and 119,372 ballots were rejected in 1992, 1996 and in 2000 elections respectively, while in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections, rejected ballots were 188,123; 205,643; 243,280; and 167,349 respectively. Occasionally, these rejected ballots amounts to colossal percentages of the votes in excess of the total number of votes garnered by all the smaller political parties.

In the 2020 elections for instance, 313,397 rejected ballots were recorded, thereby causing a huge financial loss of GHC14, 116,967 to the state.  It is worth noting that, rejected ballots recorded in the 2020 Presidential Race is higher than ever in terms of absolute figures. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung reports that, rejected ballots in the 2004 elections constitute 2.13% of 8,625,785 total votes cast, far in excess of the 165,375 votes constituting 1.9% Dr. Edward Mahama of the People’s National Convention (PNC) garnered. Had it not been for these rejected ballots, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) or Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) could have won the first round of the 2008 elections. Clearly, if rejected ballots were a political party, they could boast of a steady increase in popularity ahead of the smaller parties. 

As a voting right organisation and advocates, it is our considered view that, effective collaboration between the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to provide proper public education will improve electorates’ ability to vote and vote well. Also, abolishing the use of ink in voting will eliminate incidence of rejected ballots occasioned by spillages or inaccurate folding of the ballot sheet.

Since Ghana returned to electoral democracy, votes cast by some electorates have been rejected in elections. Rejected ballots continue to maintain its position representing the third force behind NDC and NPP. In some instances, these rejected ballots could be mischievously added to the votes of political parties that lost elections to make them winners. Ghana’s elections in 2024 is critical, hence every ballot cast by the electorates must counted. Consequently, effective collaboration between the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) is required to educate and enlighten both new and old voters ahead of the 2024 general elections to if not eliminate mitigate the number of rejected ballots in Ghana’s elections.

Thank You

Signed

DAVID KUMI ADDO

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (“CARE” GHANA)

Source: 3news.com|Ghana