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Politics of Sunday, 2 August 2015

Source: GNA

No special voting for district level elections

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There will be no special voting during the upcoming District Level Election due to the large number of the electorate involved which makes it impracticable to do so.

The Electoral Commission is challenged with logistic constraints, which involved the conveying of more than 12,300 ballot boxes out of the stock for the special voting, Mr. Serebour Quaicoe, the Upper West Regional Director of the Electoral Commission said in Wa.

He said cost benefit analysis showed that there would be no value for money regarding special voting, and that, allowances for election officials, who would be deployed at the special voting centres could be as high as 50 per cent of the total allowances payable for the main elections.

Mr. Quaicoe was addressing media practitioners, representatives of civil society, non-governmental organizations and community based organisations at a day’s sensitization workshop on the District Level Election Concept, held in Wa on Wednesday.

The Electoral Commission and the European Union organised the forum to improve the knowledge of the participants on the electoral process, to safeguard the process by insisting on candidates’ compliance to the basic rules, as provided in the electoral laws and code of conduct.

It was also aimed to sensitise all identifiable groups to mobilize communities to play watchdog roles at the polling stations.

He said the expression “special” sometimes creates the misleading assumption that it is for “special people” and that anyone who occupies a special position can vote on that day, whether or not they registered in the constituency.

“Again the impression has been created that anybody who has anything to do with the elections, however remote, can take part in special voting”, he said.

The Regional Director said that there was nothing “special” about special voting and that all the rules of election apply; that a person must be a registered voter in the constituency to be able to apply to be part of special voting in the constituency.

He said a person should have transferred his/her vote to the constituency; and must be a security official, election official or staff of the Electoral Management Board to qualify to apply to take part in special voting.

The participants called for a ban on “Foot soldiers” of political parties from interfering in elections and all other activities organised by the Electoral Commission.

According to them rioting on election days in recent times, had been caused by the so-called “Foot soldiers” of political parties and warned that it should not be allowed to continue.

The participants also urged the police to deal with elections offenders without any favour to serve as a deterrent.

He said people are concerned that the district level election was becoming partisan and urged framers of the policy to have a second look at it.

Special voting is a facility provided by law to allow registered voters who will not be able to present themselves at their polling stations due to the role they play in the elections, to vote on a date before the rest of the electorate vote on the date set for the election.

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