Message from the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE  ELECTORAL COMMISSION

On behalf of the Electoral Commission, I am pleased to welcome you to the website of the Electoral Commission of Ghana.

This website offers the Commission a channel to communicate directly with you. We value this opportunity immensely. We invite you to browse through our content, share the links across your networks, and return to us with your suggestions, questions, and comments.

This is an important moment for us as a Commission. We have Presidential and Parliamentary Elections at the end of the year. This year’s election is being conducted under the theme “Election 2020, Your Safety and Electoral Integrity Is Our Concern”.  The elections require that we carry out three important processes nationwide, namely the registration of voters, the exhibition of the voters’ register, and voting on Election Day. These are no mean tasks under normal circumstances. We however find ourselves in a new normal situation, with a pandemic that has touched every region of our country.

Additionally, we have the many questions and concerns that you have raised as citizens, political parties, civil society, and the media, regarding reforms we are carrying out in preparation for the elections; not least of all, the compilation of a new voters’ register.

I will take this opportunity to speak briefly to these issues.   

We have carried out several electoral reforms over the years of Constitutional rule. Each election process has surfaced flaws in our voting systems, which we have responded to, with reforms. Reforms include our introduction of transparent ballot boxes to replace opaque ballot boxes in 1996; the use of colored photographs on voter ID cards in 2000; and the introduction of a biometric voters register and verification process in 2012. Today, those reforms seem like routine practice, but at the time, they were major interventions, introduced under the leadership of my predecessors to strengthen the credibility of our elections.   

Be assured that it is in this same spirit that we are compiling a new voters’ register. The voters’ register is the bedrock of credible elections. It is the foundation upon which the sovereign right of a people to choose their national leaders rests. As Ghanaians, it is immensely important that at the time of elections, our register is up-to-date and clear of the deceased, minors, and non-Ghanaians. It is our mandate and responsibility as an Electoral Commission to ensure this. Indeed, we would have let you down if we should renege on this responsibility. Please help us maintain the integrity of the voter’s register. Participate in the Voters Registration Exercise. Monitor the process at your registration center. Together, we will arrive at a clean and credible Voters Register.

The registration process, exhibition of the register, and voting day, require the gathering of large numbers of people. There is the risk of transmission and spread of the Covid19 virus at these gatherings. I am aware that some of us would prefer that we wait for the end of the pandemic before carrying out these processes. Others believe that since the Covid19 virus may linger into the long term, we must find ways to stay safe while engaging in our normal business. The latter view seems largely to reflect the global approach to the question of when to resume normal economic and social life, but with each country adapting this approach to its circumstances.

As a Commission, we are paying close attention to the signals from the government, which suggest the latter approach. Therefore, we are planning towards carrying out the registration, exhibition and voting processes, but with stringent safety measures. Our safety regiment will include the following:

  1. Mandatory wearing of face masks for all visitors to registration, exhibition and voting centers.
  2. Mandatory hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizers on entry and exit from the centers.
  3. Strict adherence to the boundaries delimiting physical distance between visitors to the centers and registration/polling agents.
  4. Observance of physical distance of at least 1 meter in queues at the centers 
  5. Mandatory cleaning of scanners and verification devices with alcohol wipes before use by applicants/voters
  6. Public education regarding safety measures while at our centers, such as avoidance of face-touching, handshakes, and other forms of physical contact.

To avoid the spread of droplets and risk of transmission, strict public hygiene protocols will be required. The following will not be permitted at registration, exhibition and voting centers:

  1. Shouting and singing
  2. Coughing, spitting, sneezing and urination in the open
  3. Jostling and horseplay among visitors to the centers

We intend to rely on the Police service to support us in enforcing the above measures.

Where possible, we will employ technology to reduce the number of citizens visiting our centers physically. This will be possible with the exhibition of the register. SMS messaging will be used to help you check your polling station and registration details.

In all these safety measures, we will rely, above all, upon your cooperation. It will not be easy, but with your compliance with the above measures, we should be able to carry out registration, exhibition and voting procedures safely and successfully.

I do thank you for taking the time to visit our website and engaging with me through this message. I trust that you will visit our website frequently. Do return to us with your comments, questions, and feedback. Together we can ensure that our every election process is Free, Fair, Transparent, Peaceful, and Credible.

Thank you and may God continue to bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.

Edinam DzahMessage from the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission