General News of Friday, 7 December 2012
Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Member of Parliament for Manhyia, has suggested that the Electoral Commission (EC) count and declare the results of votes cast in polling stations where voting has been postponed.
Widespread reports of verification machines breaking down compelled the EC to postpone voting at some centres until “Saturday 8th December, 2012 to give the opportunity to the affected persons to vote.”
But Dr. Opoku Prempeh worries the materials could be tampered with, so for the sake of transparency, he told Joy FM’s Election Headquarters, ballot boxes should be opened in those areas so that the ballots counted and the results declared publicly to hamper attempts at fraud.
Earlier, the MP had vehemently disagreed with suggestions that people should be allowed to vote without verification.
Dr. Raymond Atuguba, a lawyer, had warned that a lot more people could be disenfranchised if the EC insisted on verifying people’s details.
He explained that Article 42 of the Constitution guarantees every eligible voter the right to exercise his or her franchise and it is therefore inappropriate to prevent anyone from voting on the basis that a machine could not verify his or her details if the person’s eligibility has already been proven.
But Dr. Opoku Prempeh stressed that it would be illegal to sidestep CI 71, which mandates that a voter’s identity be verified before he or she gets to vote.
He noted that the law clearly states that if the machines break down and cannot be replaced, voting can be postponed.
He conceded that the incident “is not an unforeseen development,” and appealed that “we should be reflecting on the way forward,” calling on the country as a whole to support the EC.