Mission, Vision and FunctionsVision
The vision of the electoral commission is to become an institution that is adequately resourced, staffed with professionally trained and highly motivated personnel, totally independent in the performance of its functions and dedicated to the efficient delivery of transparent, free, fair and incontrovertible elections as a contribution to good governance.
The mission of the electoral commssion is to advance the course of democracy and good governance for enhanced development of ghana by institutionalizing free, fair and transparent elections to the acceptance of all stakeholders.
FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Electoral Commission is provided for by Article 43 (1) of the Constitution. It is made up of seven (7) members; a Chairman, two Deputy Chairmen and 4 other Members all of whom are appointed by the President on the advice of the Council of State. The three Chairmen have permanent tenure of office and the same conditions of service as judges of the Superior Courts; i.e. the Chairman has conditions of service of Appeals Court Judges while the two Deputy Chairmen have conditions of service of High Court judges.
The seven members of the Commission collectively constitute the policy-making and management body of the organization, and exercise general supervision over the staff. The Commission is required to meet at least once every two months. On a day-to-day basis, the three Chairmen, exercise executive powers on behalf of the Commission. The Commission has about 1,450 employees and its administrative expenses are charged on the Consolidated Fund.
The main functions of the Commission are outlined in the Electoral Commission Act, 1993 (Act 451), as amended by the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Act, 2003 section 2 by the substitution for paragraph (d) of the following “(d) to undertake the preparation of voter identity cards”, and in section 12 subsection (1) by the substitution for paragraph (c) of the following: “ (c) the issue of voter identity cards”, and the repeal of the Identity Cards Decree, 1972 ( N.R.C.D 129). It says:
• To compile the register of voters and revise it at such periods as may be determined by law;
• To demarcate the electoral boundaries of both national and local government elections;
• To conduct and supervise all public elections and referenda;
• To educate the people on the electoral process and its purpose;
• To undertake programmes for the expansion of the registration of voters; and
• To perform such other functions as may be prescribed by law.
In addition to what Article 45 says, the Commission is assigned other functions in various parts of the Constitution.
Article Five (5) assigns the Commission a role in the creation of new regions or the merger of existing regions. When it has been determined that there is substantial demand for the creation of a new region or the merger of existing regions, the Electoral Commission must hold a referendum on the matter in the affected area(s). Article 47 empowers the Commission to divide the country into parliamentary constituencies, bearing in mind certain factors; and to review the constituencies at intervals of not less than seven (7) years or within 12 months after the publication of population figures of a national census.
Article 51 empowers the Commission to make regulations for the effective performance of its functions.
Article 55 (6) makes the Commission responsible for the registration of political parties.
Article 63 (2) assigns to the Commission the responsibility of setting the date for a presidential election.
Article 89 (1) empowers the Commission to make regulations for and supervise the election of the regional representatives of the Council of State.
Article 290 (4) requires the Commission to hold a referendum in connection with a bill to amend an entrenched provision of the Constitution.
Article 46 of the Constitution provides that in performing these functions, “the Electoral Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority”.
It can be seen that the Constitution does assign a lot of responsibilities to the Electoral Commission. But even so, it is important to note that all the functions the Commission is required to perform cannot be found in the Constitution itself. Indeed, the Constitution tells us exactly that when it says the Commission will perform “such other functions as may be prescribed by law”. So, in addition to the functions assigned to the Commission in the Constitution, Parliament may, by law, give the Commission other responsibilities. We may refer to these other functions as statutory functions.
TRULY TRANSPARENT, FREE AND FAIR ELECTORAL ADMINISTRATION
It is necessary then to turn to other laws to see what other functions have been assigned to the Commission. These laws either amplify a function conferred by the Constitution by setting it out in more detail, or confer an entirely new function:-
(a) The Electoral Commission Act, 1993 (Act 451)
2. (g) adds to the functions of the Commission the proper storage of election materials.
11. Requires the Commission to keep proper books of accounts and the necessary records to be audited annually by the Auditor General.
(b) Political Parties Law, 2000 (Act 574)
It amplifies the Constitution’s provisions on political parties by setting out in more detail conditions relating to forming and maintaining political parties. It also confers on the Commission the power to cancel the registration of a political party and the circumstances under which this power may be exercised. The law further makes the Electoral Commission responsible for supervising the election of the national and regional executive officers of registered political parties.
(c) Public and Political Party Office Holders (Declaration of Assets and Eligibility) Law, 1992 (PNDCL. 280)
The Law requires political party office holders to submit their declaration of assets forms to the Commission.
Section 11 (5) empowers the Commission to make regulations prescribing the procedure and conditions for the nomination of candidates, what declarations are to be made and how much deposit is to be paid by candidates.
(e) Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462)
Section 1 (3), (4) and (5) require the Commission, when directed by the President, to make recommendations in connection with the creation of a new district. The Commission must ascertain that the area concerned is geographically contiguous and economically viable; and that there are at least 75,000 people in the case of a district, 95,000 people in the case of a municipality and 250,000 in the case of a metropolis.
Section 2 requires the Commission, upon a request by the President, to review the areas of authority of district, municipal or metropolitan council and unit committees.
Section 9 provides that 25% of the registered voters in an electoral area may petition the Electoral Commission for a recall of their assembly member. Upon receipt of such a petition, the Commission is required to conduct a referendum to decide the issue. At least 40% must vote in favour of the recall for it to succeed.
The Commission’s other statutory functions entail conducting or supervising elections for various bodies in the country.
They include the following:
- The election of five (5) members of each Regional House of Chiefs to the National House of Chiefs.
- The election of the President and Vice- President of the National House of Chiefs, as well
- as each Regional House of Chiefs;
- The election of the executive officers of the Ghana Medical and Dental Association; the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG); and the Trades Union Congress.
- The election of the Presiding Member of a District Assembly; and
- Approval by a District Assembly of the District Chief Executive nominated by the President.
- The Electoral Commission is often called upon to provide services, which it is not required by any law to provide. The major service in this regard is organizing, supervising or conducting elections for various organizations to select their executive officers. The Commission readily performs these services in the belief that such elections constitute a learning process for the members of the organization and that this in turn facilitates its work during general elections.
The Commission is also sometimes called upon to issue identity cards to members of an organization.