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Addressing the claim of over-voting, Justice Owusu said Dr Afari-Gyan, apart from his ‘classical’ definition, did not dismiss the second instance of over-voting given by Dr Bawumia. The Economist had said over-voting was ‘where the ballots found in the ballots box at the end of polls is more than the number of votes actually issued by the voters who turned up to vote’, a definition the commissioner had said he had a problem with it.
‘Nothing is said on what constitutes over-voting in C. I. 75, so I will go by both definitions,’ the judge said, adding ‘It means that the integrity of the polls at the particular polling station has been compromised and the results at the polling station in question cannot be guaranteed and therefore same must be annulled.’
She said the petitioners introduced evidence from which the infringement could be found and added that the entries on the face of the pink sheets constituted prima facie evidence in proof of the evidential burden, adding that ‘at that point, the burden shifts onto the Respondents to lead evidence from which it may reasonably be inferred that no over-voting took place.’
‘I will consequently hold that where there is over-voting the results must be annulled.’
Voting Without Biometric Verification
According to Justice Owusu, the biometric verification process supervised by the EC came under C. I. 75regulating the conduct of public electionsand that Regulation 18 (1) made it mandatory for every polling station to be provided with a biometric verification device. Therefore, she had argued, the biometric verification process was a mandatory component of the 2012 presidential election.
She said that ‘Dr. Afari-Gyan’s explanation as to how column C3 appeared on the ‘pink sheets’ turned out to be false under cross-examination as indeed he later admitted that C. I. 75 (mandating the use of biometric verification) came into force long before 20th October, 2012 when the order to print the ‘pink sheets’ was given.
Justice Owusu said that ‘voting without being biometrically verified is an infringement of the Law which cannot be countenanced under the present dispensation in an election petition. For this and other reasons, I am inclined to annul votes in all polling stations where the violation occurred.’
By William Yaw Owusu
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