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Opinions of Saturday, 12 November 2016

Columnist: Asare, Kweku S.

Rejected Ballot Challenge

The Table below provides the percentage of rejected ballots from 1992 to 2012. It also indicates the target rejection rate for 2016.

1992 3.6%
1996 1.5%
2000 (R1) (R2) 1.8%; 1.58%
2004 2.2%
2008 (R1) (R2) 2.4%; 1.02%
2012 2.3%
2016 ------ {target is less than 1%}

A ballot is rejected if it is cast by a verified voter but cannot be, and is therefore not, counted. The presiding officer decides whether a ballot should be rejected and pursuant to CI 94(39) can do so on the following grounds:

(a) the ballot does not bear the official mark of the Commission; or
(b) the ballot is not thumb printed by the voter to clearly identify the candidate for whom the vote was cast; or
(c) the ballot is not thumb printed at all; or
(d) the ballot has on it a writing or mark by which the voter could easily be identified.

I am launching this ballot challenge to reduce the percentage of 2016 rejected ballots to under 1%.

It is easy to play the challenge by adopting a voter and explaining to same how to cast a valid vote:

1. Show them the proforma Ballot (see below);

2. Show them the official mark of the Commission.

3. Tell them to inspect the Ballot that is given them to ensure that it bears the official mark of the Commission and is not otherwise marked. They should ask for a new Ballot if what they are given lacks the Commission's mark or is otherwise marked.

4. Show them how to thumbprint the Ballot (in the box next to the candidate's symbol; sideways not downwards; the thumprint must not straddle the box of two candidates);

5. Tell them not to write their name on the ballot;

6. Tell them to mark or thumbprint only 1 candidate;

7. Tell them if they accidentally mark their ballot, or otherwise make an unintended mark in the box of the wrong candidate, they should not cast it but insist on getting a new one. The law allows for Spoilt Ballots.

8. Demonstrate how folding the ballot can lead to "overvoting" and show them the correct way to fold the ballot.

Help reduce Rejected Ballots to less than 1% in 2016. Adopt a Voter and play the Rejected Ballot Challenge today and everyday till December 7.

Da Yie!