The Electoral Commission (EC), in its quest to conduct credible, free, fair and transparent ‘trio’ elections on Wednesday met the Police Management Advisory Board to commence discussions bordering on security.
The ‘trio’ are the election of the District Assembly and Unit Committee members as well as the Referendum, which is expected to take place on December 17, 2019. It is believed that this forms the critical core of the country’s decentralisation process by way of helping in the exercise of political and administrative authority in the districts, provide guidance, give direction, and supervise the other administrative authorities in the districts.
Briefing the heads of departments, Mrs. Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the EC, said the Commission was ready to re-ignite its partnership with the National Election Security Task Force (NESTF) headed by the Police Administration.
Among the team were her two deputies – Mr Samuel Tettey, the Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations, Dr Bossman Eric Asare, the Deputy Chairman in-charge of Corporate Services and Madam Rebecca Adjalo, a Commissioner.
Mrs Mensa also briefed them about the activities the EC would be undertaking before, during and after elections that included the nomination of contestants for Assembly and Unit Committee Members, the campaign season and the elections. She said the Commission had learnt valuable lessons from the violence that occurred close to a polling station during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-elections and issues that emanated during the referendum to create the six new regions hence the need to plan well.
Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, the Acting Inspector General of Police gave an assurance that the Police Administration together with the members of the NESTF would provide the needed security for electoral officials to operate freely for voters to have the freedom to cast their votes peacefully. He commended the Commission for its approach of initiating meetings with key stakeholders especially the security agencies to develop strategies, systems and structures for the conduct of free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections.
“This is a good and laudable innovation. It is good that we have started planning together,” he added.
Mr Oppong-Boanuh urged the Commission and the relevant bodies to commence education campaign on the upcoming elections to help people to understand the nature and form it would take. Asked about the nature of the trio elections, Dr Asare explained that across the polling stations nationwide, there will be three ballot boxes and screens and each voter will be given three different ballot papers separately.
He said each electorate on the day in question, would be required to vote on the three themes separately.
Dr Asare stated that the process would take the form of the regular general presidential and parliamentary elections. However, he said the difference with this ‘trio’ election, would be the addition of an additional ballot box.
“An electorate will first receive one ballot paper to vote for a candidate of his or her choice for the Unit Committee and go for a second ballot to vote for the candidate of choice for the District Assembly and same for the referendum.
When asked about the possibility of a voter soiling the second or third ballot paper with ink after casting the first vote, Mr Tettey replied that the EC would provide wipes to clean the ink after every vote cast.
He said the Commission had taken steps to ensure that all logistical arrangements was made on time to facilitate a smooth process.