In ensuring free, fair and credible elections in the upcoming December elections, the Electoral commission has rolled out the accepted and rejected electoral reforms proposed by the panel of Justices of the Apex Court after 2012/13 Election Petition.
An Electoral Reform Committee was set up by the EC and was tasked to synthesize the various reforms proposed by the panel of Justices easy implementation by the Commission.
Membership of the Committee included representatives of the political parties, governance institutions, Faith-Based Organisations and Civil Society Organisations.
The Accepted Reforms
The 27 reform proposals by the committee which were accepted and are being implemented by the EC include the following:
- Presidential and Parliamentary elections are held in November instead of December. But this has now been rejected by Parliament.
- Continuous voter registration in addition to periodic registrations.
- Election Officials & Party Agents will take oaths before a Magistrate or Judicial officer instead of an officer of the Commission.
- IPAC to be institutionalized
- Use of Biometric Verification Device for exhibition of the Provisional Voters Register.
- Raised the minimum educational qualification requirements for various levels of election officials.
- Improved quality of training of election officials and EC staff.
- PWDs and vulnerable persons to be given priority at polling stations on Election Day.
- We have made clear provisions in C.I. 94 regarding processes and procedures to be followed to adjourn polling in the event of a disruption caused by nature or human activity.
- We have improved the Compensation package for Election officials. We believe this will get them motivated to put in their best for a clean exercise.
- We will serially number statement of Polls and Declaration of the results sheets for easy referencing.
- We are replacing the “Strong Room” with a more open, accessible and transparent National Results Collation Centre.
- We are appointing very knowledgeable collation officers for each constituency as a safeguard against collation errors.
- Electronic voting has been deferred.
- The C.I 94 has made provisions for election officials to be punished/sanctioned for any breach of the electoral laws.
- We are working on multiple measures to reduce the incidence of rejected ballots.
- The notice period for the Voter Registration exercise was extended from 14 to 21 days.
- In compliance with the law, we will give a copy of the Final Certified Register to Registered Political Parties at least 21 days before the elections.
- We have reduced the number of voters per polling station to cut down on queues on Election Day.
- We have published an annual calendar of our activities subject to periodic reviews and amendment. This will continue.
- We will publish a list of all polling stations with their codes and locations not later than 42 days to the elections. But the EC accepted 21days.
- Returning Officers will give copies of Proxy, Special and Absent Voters lists to Candidates/Parties.
- Returning Officers will issue copies of collation sheets to Candidates/Agents.
- We have expanded the list of special voters to include you (accredited media personnel, security personnel and staff of the Electoral Commission.)
- We will publish the Presidential Election Results for each polling station on our website.
The Rejected reforms
The reforms proposed by the Committee which were rejected includes:
- That membership of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) should be expanded to include CSOs; and
- That no voting without biometric verification.
By: Maame Yaa Emefa Coffie