EC increases polling stations from 26,000 to 35,000

The Electoral Commission (EC) has increased the number of polling stations from 26,000 to 35,000 as part of its preparations for the smooth conduct of district level elections this year.

With the procurement of more biometric verification devices (BVDs), the EC also plans to put two BVDs at the disposal of each polling station during the upcoming elections scheduled to be held by the end of the year.

A Deputy Chairman of the EC in charge of Finance and Administration, Ms Georgina Opoku Amankwaa, who made this known in Accra yesterday, said the elections would be conducted simultaneously for all the 6,156 electoral areas across the country.

The EC had received public backlash for the piecemeal (or what some critics described as the ‘tot-tot’) manner in which it conducted the last district level elections in 2010.

But Ms Amankwaa assured the nation at a consultative forum in Accra that the experience belonged to history, as she was upbeat that the EC would post a better performance this year.

Voters register to open

The Deputy EC Chairman said the voters register would be opened in June this year for what she described as a limited registration exercise purposely meant for people who had attained the age of 18 since the last registration exercise in 2012 and others above 18 who, for one reason or another, could not register in 2012.

She said the EC had a system to detect registered voters who would attempt to register again and warned that offenders would be drastically dealt with.

“The EC has not been biting in the previous time but this time it will bite. If you are found to have double-registered, you’ll be very sorry,” she said.

Ms Amankwaa said the conduct of the district level elections was more difficult than that of the presidential and parliamentary elections because of the number of candidates involved and appealed to all Ghanaians to help make it a success.

Essence of forum

The consultative forum was the last of a series of 10 regional fora organised by the EC to seek the input of stakeholders in the electoral system for a review of the Public Elections Regulations, 2012 (CI 75) to make it more feasible for the conduct of the district level elections.

Although the law is barely two years old, the need for its review is informed by Section 47 of the regulation which provides thus: “These regulations apply to presidential and parliamentary elections and with the necessary modifications to other public elections that the Commission may by constitutional instrument prescribe.”

The forum was also in line with a project by the EC, dubbed: “Deepening public confidence in Ghana’s elections”, as the EC prepares for the district level elections.

Source: Daily Graphic