The Opposition NDC is making a strong push for a public broadcast of presidential election vote collation during general elections.
A document titled “NDC Position Paper on Electoral Reforms” lists a litany of changes the party believes could significantly improve the credibility of the polls. Key proposals include an all-year-round voter registration system under which persons who turn 18 can walk into an office of the EC to get registered.
“This is an all-year round system under which citizens who turn 18 or who have not previously registered may visit any district office of the EC and register as voters”, the document states.
The party believes the EC could cut down on possible cost this could present by conducting the registration at its district offices once a month on the last Friday of every month.
This it explains will also enable party and candidates’ agents to be in attendance to monitor the continuous registration process. If accepted, the party envisages four major implications;
- That the Voters’ Register must be exhibited all year round.
- There should be a cut-off point for the continuous registration.
- Specific periods should be set aside for the limited registration of persons who have just attained the voting age or who may not previously have registered as voters after every census or after every 7 years.
- No completely new voters’ registers involving the queueing up of all persons of voting age to register must be compiled.
The party also wants the EC to maintain the current 7am to 5pm voting time as against heeding to calls to have an earlier closing time. The NDC says a 10-hour allows a broad range of citizens including those with work or other commitments, to participate in the election.
“It also provides flexibility for voters to choose a convenient time to cast their votes, accommodating different schedules. For example, a very large percentage of the voters are farmers and fishermen and would rather take advantage of the cool mornings to go to their farms and to sea and come and vote in the afternoons which is usually after 3p.m. Ending voting at 3p.m. is a sure way of disenfranchising them,” the party posited.
The Opposition party is asking for the military not to be deployed at registration and voting centres except as stand-by forces at vantage points to be called in by the police when required. The Military has in recent years come under intense public criticisms for its handling of election protection.
The party therefore believes having such an arrangement could reduce the potential for voter intimidation and undue influence, which can undermine the fairness and integrity of elections.
Vote Collation and Dispute resolution
The Party is asking that its agents and that of other parties should be enabled by regulations to oversee the transmission of collated results at all the various stages of the collation process and at both ends of the results transmission. Such transmitted collated results, it says, must be confirmed and validated by the party agents at the receiving end to be acceptable.
The NDC is also of the opinion that a public broadcast of the Presidential vote collation process at the EC Head Office as and when the constituency Presidential results are received could improve transparency. Aside from pointing out the likelihood of minimizing vote tampering, it also thinks it could foster confidence in the accuracy of results.
The Electoral Commission is further urged to set up an Election Adjudication Committee (EAC) to review disputed results before final declaration.
The EAC should comprise officials of the EC, representatives of the political parties and agents of independent candidates that participated in the Presidential elections and stakeholder CSOs. It wants the EAC replicated at the constituency level as well.