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Opinions of Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Columnist: Jackson, Margaret

Three Areas You Can Easily Detect Voter Fraud

By Margaret Jackson

Elections are about numbers. Hard core and coded numbers! Elections are about nothing else. You go on top when your numbers look good and you tank when your numbers dip. Therefore, we win elections based on numbers and not on unsigned pink sheets. You may disagree with me, but that is my take.

In Ghana, there are three essential areas you can easily detect voter fraud. They are at the polling stations, collation centres and the strong room of the Electoral Commission (EC). Votes garnered by candidates flow from the polling stations to the collation centres and finally to the EC strong room. We have these checks and balances put in place by the EC.

Every political party, therefore, posts men and women to the polling stations, collation centres and the EC strong room to ensure that numbers or results coming from all three important points tally.

When elections are held at polling stations, we have representatives of all the political parties present, who ensure that their candidates are credited with the exact votes from voters. At the polling stations all the agents whether normal or glorified ensure that their candidates are not cheated.

It is important to note that once the votes are counted, all the agents pick their phones and call their party headquarters to relay the votes garnered by their candidates. The same information is also relayed to agents of all the political parties at the collation centres. These results are then coded by the parties long before it reaches the EC strong room.

Immediately following the signing of the pink sheets by the agents, the presiding officers go to the collation centres of all the constituencies to present the results to the returning officers. But the agents of the political parties at the collation centres tend to have the number of votes won by their candidates at each of the polling stations within the constituencies long before the returning officers get hold of the numbers for collation.

This, therefore, make the job of the party agents at the collation centres very simple. If for instance we have 200 polling stations within a constituency, the agents at the collation centres would be relayed with each of the votes that their candidates got at every polling station by their own representatives long before the collation even begins.

As a result, the agents at the collation centres are able to check and ensure that the numbers they have been given by their party agents from the polling stations are exactly the same numbers from the presiding officers to the returning officers at the collation centres.

For instance if the NDC agent at a collation centre has the total number of votes from all the polling stations for President Mahama as 60,300, he/she will make sure that it is the same number of votes that appears on the collation sheet. In another instance, if the NPP agent at the Odododiodioo Constituency collation centre is very much aware that the total votes won by Nana Akufo-Addo from all the polling stations in the constituency is 70,000, he/she will go for nothing less. The agents are paid to ensure that the right figures are awarded to their candidates. They take nothing less!

Once the agents at all the collation centres are satisfied with the numbers awarded to their candidates, they immediately shoot those numbers to their various headquarters which also relay the information to their representatives at the EC strong room. Ladies and gentlemen, those are the numbers the representatives of the political parties at the strong room will expect the EC to declare. Nothing less!

Therefore, if the results from the polling stations to the collation centres and the finally to the EC strong room changes, you need not be a saint to detect it. You have your agents on the ground who can easily give you the true picture instantly.

It amazes many people that during the Supreme Court petition case mounted by Nana Akufo-Addo, the unrepentant defeatist of the 2012 Presidential Election, never made mention of a single instance whereby his votes from a polling station to the collation centre was swapped with that of President John Mahama. For instance, the NPP did not show the court that 200 votes garnered by Akufo-Addo from Ayensudo polling station changed to 20 at the collation centre and this reduced Akufo-Addo’s overall vote in that constituency.

Proving fraud is all about facts. Did we hear the NPP saying or proving to the SC that Akufo-Addo’s votes from a constituency which tallied 70,000 was reduced to 7,000 at the EC’s strong room? Or did we see any evidence that there was a particular constituency whereby President Mahama got 15,000 while Akufo-Addo got 75,000, but the numbers were swapped at the EC strong room leading President Mahama to get 75,000 and Akufo-Addo getting 15,000 instead?

There are only three areas you can easily check for voter fraud. Period! If the votes at the polling stations were the same that were relayed to the collation centres with the approval of all agents, and we have the totals from the collation centres sent to the EC strong room with the approval of the agents there, where then lay the thievery? Who stole from whom? Who has been cheated here? And who is the victim we are talking about? There are three grey areas: Polling Stations, Collation Centres and the EC Strong room. Hello, Akufo-Addo!

magjackson80@yahoo.com http://majjacks80.blogspot.com