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Opinions of Saturday, 20 December 2008

Columnist: Akoma, Emil

Authenticating Ghana Electoral Commission Ballot Documents

For Ease Of Traceability.

I may be ignorant of any identification system that the Ghana Electoral Commission uses to easily identify document for voting, or material for voting. But considering the issues being raised on missing or found ballot boxes, I wish to suggest for EC consideration, one standard quality record control system that is very effective in a globally operating organization, and is as follows:

Every single ballot box could be easily identified using this system and creating this system will take a maximum of one working day (may not be all that possible in one day, given that conditions in Ghana are not so smooth as in the outside world).

Data that is required is already known partly to every Ghanaian who can read.

a) Names of 10 Regions are all known b) Names of all 110 (?) Districts are known c) Names of all 230 Constituencies are also known

1. Ashanti 2. Brong Ahafo 3. Central 4. Eastern 5. Greater Accra 6. Northern 7. Upper East 8. Upper West 9. Volta 10. Western

So what EC has to provide are the names of Electoral Areas that make up each Constituency. In the same way, how each Electoral Area (?) is broken down into smaller units till it comes down to where the Voter stands to vote, is required.

Anyone (who can read English {reasonably}) will follow this system with little difficulty.

Example: Greater Accra, as per alphabetical listing, is Region Number 5. The Districts (Metro/Municipal/Urban etc) are needed to be in A-Z and given bullet numbering, so we take Accra Metro as Number one on the list of

5.1 Accra Metropolitan

5.2 Adenta Municipal

5.3 Ashaiman Municipal 5.4 Dangme East 5.5 Dangme West

5.6 Ga East Municipal 5.7 Ga West Municipal 5.8 Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal 5.9 Tema Metropolitan 5.10 Weija Municipal

So we now break down Accra Metro into existing Constituencies (within Accra Metro) as so demarcated by the EC. One such – where I was registered in 1992, is Ayawaso Central. Ayawaso Central ID is therefore 5-1-2 , assuming it is the second in alphabetical order. It translates like this:

Region 5’s District 1’s Constituency 2 and so on it goes.

No Region District Constituency Electoral Area Polling Area. Polling Booth No. Box No

5 5 1 2 1 3 8

Gtr Accra AMA Ayawaso Central Aayalolo South Aryee Diki Presby Church

This proposal may not only be ideal for vote identification. It equally should work well for any other identification system, when so revised to suit local conditions; in that when Atakora Mensah says he is a voter at 5-1-2-3-8, one can easily detect that he voted at PRESBY CHURCH at the location described above.

Can we say it is too late to mark things out like these? I am confident that if there will be no lights-off, if the EC’s IT System is calibrated to meet the system’s optimal performance levels, we could do this long before December 28.

Akoma, Emil emilthemann@rocketmail.com December 15, 2008