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Politics of Tuesday, 1 September 2015


District Assembly elections today

Voting for the district- level elections will take place today at all centres across the country with the exception of the Dichemso Electoral Area in the Ashanti Region, where a Kumasi High Court has placed an injunction on the elections.

It begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. However, if by close of voting, voters are still in the queue, voting will continue after which counting of ballots will begin.

Voters will undergo a biometric verification exercise by the electoral officers before they can cast their ballots for their choice of candidates.

Aside the verification exercise, the presiding officer is also expected to bring together polling assistants, a security officer and any available polling agents and open each of the ballot boxes in their presence, as well as take out the election materials to ascertain that all items are available.
Election materials/electoral offence

Meanwhile, all materials needed for the elections are ready.

Every polling station would have two biometric machines while every district would have a 20-per cent back-up for all the biometric machines available to ensure that all electoral areas vote in one day, the Deputy Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC) in the Central Region, Mr Anthony Nyame, assured.

All biometric devices, ballot papers and other election materials have already been dispatched to the various districts, and officials for the election have received technical and procedural training for today’s nationwide exercise.

Five officials would man the various polling stations where the simultaneous elections would take place but in the case of areas where a single poll is being conducted, four of them would be in charge. Mr Nyame added that one agent was to represent each of the candidates at a time.

In all, a total of 40,000 security personnel have been drawn from the various security agencies and deployed nationwide to ensure that the elections are peaceful.

Still no verification, no vote

According to Mr Nyame the “no verification, no vote” policy still works with the district-level elections.

He advised voters to wash their hands properly to help make it easier for verification.

He said a voter must be allowed to try to verify all 10 fingers before he could be dismissed as not being able to vote.

He also explained that arrangement had been made to cater for those who for some reasons would not be able to use their hands.

He gave an assurance that the EC would work to ensure a free and fair election.

From Cape Coast, Shirley Asiedu-Addo reports that a total of 1,693 aspirants are contesting for 572 places in the various district assemblies in the Central Region today.

Only 85, less than 10 per cent, are women while 1,608 are men.

For the unit committee elections, 4,223 are contesting for 2,860 places. The aspirants include 529 women.

The Deputy Regional Director of the EC said it was unfortunate that there was such little interest and participation from women despite the efforts made to get them involved in local governance.

He was speaking at a forum organised by the Central Regional office of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on the elections over the weekend.

Mr Nyame noted that women were very important in every local effort and their low participation was not beneficial in the nation’s quest for good local governance.

Western Region ready

In the Western Region, Akwasi Ampratwum-Mensah reports from Sekondi that the Western Regional Office of the EC is set to conduct the district assembly and unit committee elections.

A total of 1, 650 candidates, including 58 women, are contesting the assembly elections, while 4,321, with 324 women are taking part in the unit committee poll in the region.

Mr Stephen Opoku-Mensah, the Western Regional Director of the EC, in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Sekondi, however, said elections would not take place in 15 electoral areas, since there was only one candidate each in those areas. The region has 544 electoral areas.

The EC regional director also urged prospective voters to go to their polling stations early from 7:00 a.m. to cast their ballot, leave and come back to witness counting of the ballot if they so wished.

He again advised them to listen carefully to instructions to avoid spoiling the ballot papers to the disadvantage of their preferred candidates; one for the assembly election and five for the unit committee.