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Opinions of Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Columnist: Damoa, Adreba Kwaku Abrefa

Ghana in Quest for Free, Fair, and Transparent Elections.

Ghana in Quest for Free, Fair, and Transparent Elections. A Compelling Reason For Electronic Voting (e-voting )

Whiles it is evidently emerging that Ghana's elections and electoral processes have been continually flawed, ever since the era of this fourth republican era, there have been consistent calls for a compilation of a new and fresh database of voters register. Yet, it appears that not only should there be a new register of electors, there is equally a need for an accompanying overhaul of the work and practices of the Ghana Electoral Commission's concept of operational systems.

Whereas the ex-chairman of the Electoral Commission has stated unequivocally by admitting before the Ghana Supreme Court that the voters register is bloated, and also that 56% out of Ghana's population of 25 million is disproportionate, and unconscionable, and therefore a need for it to be purged, it is worrying for a persistent denial, not only by the staff of the Commission, but also by the ruling NDC, claiming that there is nothing wrong with the register, and that all is well with the Commission's operational systems and practices.

The Electoral Commission has apparently shirked its responsibility to the nation, on the basis of the fact that the nation depends on their records for national statistical accuracies and inaccuracies for various calculations. They have been oblivious to whatever repercussions that might befall Ghana out of their capricious biases.
All these notwithstanding, the argument rages on, with the Commission and the NDC on one side, whiles the rest of Ghana, forming the greater majority are on another, placed on an arena where a symbol of "reason and reasonableness" has launched an onslaught on an image of "lack of reason, insulse, and unreasonableness"

Accepted that the current voters register is incurably bloated, hence a need for a fresh one to be compiled under vigilant eagle eyes, if the working mechanisms and practices of the institution of the Electoral Commission and its systems remain the same, not long after one request, there will be another need for another fresh register, as the years pass on, because the filth remains, it will grow and resurface once again. This incidence of circumlocation of misdeeds clearly suggests that the problem is with, and within the institution of the Electoral Commission. It is the EC that has made itself cribbrous, permitting its work, systems organisations, structures and practices to be subjected to controls by ruling officials, and thereby permeation of foreign materials. It therefore behoves that human as the EC is composed of, hence likely to be venal, if all known and perceived human controlled loopholes that bedeck it are sealed, it will make it closer to perfection, if not perfect. One such suggested solution in reaction to its current state of failures and mistrust, relating to general elections, is an introduction of Electronic Voting (e-voting) and its benefits and advantages, as it is over all other systems of voting, for Ghana's electors, the future of the system, as well as for the credibility and trust for the Commission.
E-voting, after a credible "Ghanaians - only" electoral register is compiled, comes with the following:

E-voting allows for only one vote per each qualified and registered voter, on the day of the polls. Once a person successfully exhausts a voting entitlement at any one specific polling station, the card becomes disabled at all polling stations across the country.
It is flawless, it is foolproof, it is fraud-proof, it is expiditious, and indeed thief-proof.
Results of polls is within hours, if not minutes after polls.
A country like India, with a voters population of over a billion, successfully uses e-voting, and compiles instant results.
E-voting eliminates instances of spoilt ballots.

E-voting is cost effective; meaning, it uses less disposable material, less of human resources, and avoids after polls counting controversies, occasioning mêlée, leading to mob action in extreme situations of suspicions of adulteration with extras misunderstanding.

Students disenfranchisement is a common occurrence during general elections.
The current specifically 7th December slated date for quadriannial voting day needs to be adjusted to make room for students not to be disenfranchised.
Most students, who may have turned 18 years, and over, and duly registered, are usually, on polling day during general elections, seriously preparing for exams. Since examination pressure, most usually transcend and supervene all other social and national activities, including games, unless they are prioritised under compulsion of participation, cause students to refuse to travel back home to cast their vote. Students must either be made to register in close proximity to their campuses of learning, or that polling day for such an important electioneering event should fall clearly away from periods of exams pressure.

Also, if general elections are scheduled to be held on a weekend, such as the 1st or 2nd weekend of November, etc, it may be more convenient for voters, involving the employed and self-employed workers, as well as for a better turn out, than date specific timing like the like 7th December, 10th October etc, which may fall on any day of the week, depending on the orientation of the cycle of the calendar year.

Adreba Kwaku Abrefa Damoa