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Opinions of Monday, 26 September 2016

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

The proxy vote is a potential weapon and could be used to the advantage of NDC

By Rockson Adofo

Proxy vote is permissible by the electoral regulations of many civilized countries to allow as many as possible number of their citizens to exercise their suffrage. This is especially in cases where a citizen for a genuine reason, of say, having been transferred from where he or she registered initially, but is unable to arrange on time for their name to be transferred to their current area of abode in the country, and may not be able to go back to where he or she registered to vote on the Election Day, can exercise the right of proxy vote.

Again, when the voter thinks he or she may be indisposed for a reason or the other to proceed to his or her electoral area to vote come the Election Day, he or she can then arrange in advance for someone to vote on their behalf in what is called a proxy voting.

What then is proxy vote as is officially defined or understood? “A proxy vote is a vote that is cast in a way that allows a person not in attendance to have his vote counted without physically casting a ballot. This may be done by mail or through a delivered letter or statement.... Voting by proxy means that you appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf. Voting by proxy can be useful if you can't get to the polling station on Election Day. For example - if you fall ill or you are abroad”

This is my second publication on concerns raised about the proxy vote as is fervently supported and written into the Constitutional Instrument (CI..) scheduled for regulating election 2016, by Mrs Charlotte Keeson-Osei, the Chair of Ghana’s Electoral Commission.

Today, I am compelled to highlight the fears once more as a result of some credible information gathered when I made a phone call to a friend in Kumawu. This friend, a man of integrity, the sort of whom there are not thousands in our present day Ghana or else the country would not have sunk so low to her knees, revealed the following shocking news that sends cold chill down the spine of any hearer, to me.

He said that during the limited voters registration permitted by the Electoral Commission, many people of northern extraction who had never been known in Kumawu before, were seen registering their names onto the electoral roll. What was shocking was how adolescent some of them were, presumed to be around twelve to fourteen years old, telling from their facial and bodily appearance.

It is not their tribal extraction that is an issue since they may be Ghanaians after all, and every Ghanaian has the right to live in whichever part of Ghana they choose to. However, their age and the fact that they were not known in the area are what are raising eyebrows. Where did they come from and what was their original or true nationality?

Does one not have to belong to an area or have residence in the electoral area before they could register to vote in the area? How could the strangers provide residential address before they were registered?

Additionally, I was told they were each served food (rice) and also given GHC80.00. Who was giving them those incentives and for what reason?

From the above, my worry is about how these unknown and understandably underage persons who were not challenged by anyone during the moment of registering their names onto the electoral roll, comfortably come back to cast their votes on the Election Day without being very apprehensive that they may be challenged hence may resort to tactical proxy voting.

I am sure this dodgy instance as reported to have happened in Kumawu was not only limited to Kumawu but might have taken place in many other electoral areas. Who could be behind all this?

To avoid these aliens flooding into some regions from nowhere, or especially from the northern regions into the southern regions to register their names only to mysteriously disappear into their original areas of abode to re-register their names to cast their votes on the Election Day in what may amount to multiple voting, I shall suggest as following:

The proxy voting must not be allowed. Voters must be physically present at their polling stations to vote on the Election Day. With proxy voting, the essence of the capital outlay on the verification machines meant for ensuring nobody other than the credible registrant him or herself votes to avoid multiple registration and voting by same single individual is automatically negated.

How do you verify to tell the correct person is voting, and again, the person has not registered severally elsewhere to cast his or her vote many times during the Election Day if nominated persons could be voting on their behalf through proxy voting?

The fact that those people unknown in Kumawu area with some being very young to qualify to vote did actually register, the only way they can conveniently cast their votes on the Election Day without any confrontation is by proxy voting.

However, to avoid this instance of clear electoral irregularity taking place, the proxy voting which is one of the plans by Charlotte Osei to assist the NDC rig the upcoming election 2016, must be stopped. Whoever cannot make it to their electoral area to vote on that day must automatically lose their right to cast their vote without being allowed to use any method (proxy voting) which is prone to fraudulence.

The NDC are always supportive of things that majority of discerning Ghanaians find dubious. Why are they always of that doubtful behaviour?

There is clearly a proven evidence of room for manipulating the proxy vote to the advantage of some political party so that condition of proxy vote as collusively enshrined in the Constitutional Instrument... for election 2016 must be stopped.

One will understand where I am coming from by reading a previously published article via web link http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/Will-the-EC-Chair-Cease-Her-Dubious-Plans-to-Rig-Election-2016-for-the-NDC-468559