Election Language

Election Language

Politics is a wash with jargon shared by those “inside” politics. This coded language often mystifies the average voter. Don’t fret, we’ve decoded them.
Here is a list of terms and phrases you need to understand during the elections..

ELECTION LANGUAGE/TERMINOLOGIES

A WRIT OF ELECTION
Writ of election is issued by the Commission to the Registration Officer. The writ specifies the period and place for the nomination of candidates; and the day on which the poll is to be taken – not be less than thirty days or more than ninety days after the last day appointed for the nomination of candidates in the case of a general election.

NOTICE OF ELECTION
On receipt of a writ of election, the returning officer shall publish a notice of the election throughout the constituency in a manner determined by the Commission.

  • A notice of election shall specify the day, the place and time for the nomination of candidates; and
  • The day when the poll is to be taken.

NOTICE OF POLL

  • Whenever an election is to be held, the Commission shall, as soon as practicable after the allocation of symbols, colours or combination of colours publish notice of the election in the Gazette and in the places in a constituency that it may direct.

FREQUENTLY USED TERMS

  • Irregularities – Meaning and impact on election results
  • Fraud – Meaning and impact on election results
  • Rigging – Meaning and impact on election results

WITHDRAWAL OF CANDIDATURE

  • A candidate may at any time before the Election Day withdraw his/her Candidature.
  • Only the candidate himself can withdraw
  • Withdrawal of candidature shall be in writing addressed to the Commission
  • If the withdrawal occurs after printing of the ballot papers the name and particulars of the candidate will continue to remain on ballot paper but any votes cast in his/her favour will not count.

UNOPPOSED CANDIDATES

  • Where only one candidate stood, nominated at the end of the receipt of nomination there will be no election.
  • The candidate is deemed to have been elected.

PLATFORM MOUNTING

  • It is a forum organized by the Commission at which candidates are introduced to the electorate.
  • Before the coming into force the District Assembly Elections (Amendment) Act 2010 (Act 801) candidates could not mount their own platform.
  • With the Amendment of Act 473 and the coming into force of Act 801 in 2010 candidates are now able to mount their own platform.
  • No party can mount a platform for any or all the candidates.
  • No organization, group of persons or individuals can mount a platform for the use of a candidate or all the candidates.
  • An organization, which is desirous of supporting platform mounting, may place the resources at the disposal of the Commission, to mount a platform for the common use of all the candidates.

FREQUENTLY USED TERMS

  • Irregularities – Meaning and impact on election results
  • Fraud – Meaning and impact on election results
  • Rigging – Meaning and impact on election results

WITHDRAWAL OF CANDIDATURE

  • A candidate may at any time before the Election Day withdraw his/her Candidature.
  • Only the candidate himself can withdraw
  • Withdrawal of candidature shall be in writing addressed to the Commission
  • If the withdrawal occurs after printing of the ballot papers the name and particulars of the candidate will continue to remain on ballot paper but any votes cast in his/her favour will not count.

SPOILT/ REJECTED BALLOT

These two cases arise under different circumstances. They mean different things so they cannot be used interchangeably.

SPOILT BALLOT

  • A spoilt ballot refers to a ballot paper that has been handled in such a way that it is no longer suitable to be used for voting. A spoilt ballot does not go into the ballot box.
  • Instances where a ballot paper can be classified as spoilt include;

a. the ballot paper is torn across while detaching it from the booklet.

b. ink is spilled on the ballot paper.

c. the ballot paper is soiled.

d. the ballot paper is crumpled.

e. the voter realizes, before he/she puts the ballot paper in the ballot box, that he/she has made the wrong choice and returns it to the Presiding Officer.

  • A spoilt ballot paper is not found in the ballot box

REJECTED BALLOT

  • Unlike the spoilt ballot, the rejected ballot is always found in the ballot box.
  • It is a ballot paper which is handled by the voter in such a way that the choice of candidate or the voter’s intention cannot be ascertained such as;

a. Failing to make a mark.

b. The mark lies in two candidates’ boxes.

c.The voter marked for more than one candidate in a District Assembly or more than five candidates in the Unit Committee election  .

d. Voter tears ballot paper across.

e. Voter writes his/her name on the ballot paper (secrecy of the ballot is compromised).

RECOUNT/ RE-COLLATION

RECOUNT

  • A candidate, if present at the polling station, or his agent may call for a recount of the ballots at the polling station if he/she is not satisfied with the first count and the Presiding Officer is bound to do the recount
  • A second recount may be requested at the polling station but the Presiding Officer may refuse the second recount if he thinks the request is unreasonable.
  • The recount shall then be done at the collation centre by the Returning Officer.
  • A recount cannot be requested at the collation centre.
  • A recount is in relation to ballots from a particular polling station.
  • The recount should have been requested at the polling station, which request was refused by the Presiding Officer.
  • It is not acceptable for candidates to go to the collation centre to demand a recount of all ballots from all polling stations in the electoral area when no such requests were made at the polling stations.

RE-COLLATION

Collation entails adding up all the votes obtained by the candidates from all polling stations in the electoral area, for the purpose of, determining who got the highest number of votes. Re-collation may be the result of wrong addition or errors due to transposition. So long as the parties involved do not agree on the results after collation, collation may continue.

  • Recount and re-collation are entirely two different tasks and must not be confused.
  • Recount is done at the polling station upon request and may be done only a second time at the collation centre if the request was made and refused at the polling station.
  • There is no limit on the number of times that collation may be done so long as the additions do not produce the same figure for all.

ADJOURNMENT OF THE POLL

The poll can be adjourned by a Presiding Officer to the next day if anything occurs that makes it impossible for voting to continue.
The Presiding Officer must do so in consultation with the Returning Officer and subject to approval by the Commission.

ELECTORAL REFORMS

Definition: “Electoral Reform” is a broad term that is used to describe changes aimed at improving the responsiveness of the electoral process to public desires and expectations.

  • They may be legal or administrative in nature; or political; which takes place in the political environment within which the EMB operates, such as giving it more autonomy, or creating a more effective framework for its funding and accountability.

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2020 Voters Information Documents

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