Politics of Friday, 4 April 2014
The Electoral Commission (EC) is to increase the number of polling stations across the country from 26,000 to 35,000.
This is to reduce the voter population at some polling stations, as well as reduce the pressure on the Biometric Verification Device (BVD) to enable it function efficiently without any hitch.
Mrs Georgina Opoku-Amankwah, Chairperson of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and a member of the EC announced this at a consultative forum on the Public Elections Regulation CI 75 in Koforidua.
She explained that it was a move to address the various challenges encountered with the verification process during the 2012 elections.
According to her, the CI 75 is the same regulation to be used for the upcoming district assembly elections and, therefore, the need to consult the public to collectively come to the realization of the need to review some of the provisions of the regulations.
Mr. John Aidoo, Director in-charge of Finance and Administration of the EC, who spoke on the challenges encountered in the 2012 elections, mentioned the difficulty in capturing the fingerprints of eligible voters, the number of ballot papers exceeding that recorded by the BVD, as some of the challenges that confronted the EC.
He said the over-voting issue and the frequent breakdown of the verification devices marred the smooth running of the elections.
Mr. Aidoo observed that most of the election officers did not heed to the advice of changing the BVD batteries after every four hours, and said that resulted in the breakdown of most of the machines, thus causing a delay in the balloting process.
Mr. Aiddo explained that the batteries had been designed to work continuously for four hours, and failure to change them result in the break down of machines, which take longer periods to start working again after the batteries had been changed.
He said to ensure smooth operation, the EC would put stringent measures in place to ensure strict adherence to the handling of the machines and added that despite the BVD challenges, its advantages far outweigh the challenges.
Mr. Dogbey Adukpo Selormey, Eastern Regional Director of Elections, said a number of votes exceeding that recorded by the BVD and counting mistakes similar to that of the general elections are some of the anticipated challenges to be encountered in the district level elections.