The high incidence of rejected ballots that has characterised Ghanaï¿½s elections has assumed worrying and alarming proportions.
From 1992 to date, the trend seems to be taking a turn for the worse. This was evident in last Saturdayï¿½s presidential primary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) which recorded as many as 1,277 invalid and, therefore, rejected ballots.
At the NPPï¿½s expanded national delegates congress to elect its flag bearer for the 2016 elections, the number of valid votes cast was 124,449.
Meanwhile, the rejected ballots outnumbered the total votes received by one of the three aspirants, Mr Francis Addai-Nimoh, who had less than one per cent of the votes.
Three aspirants ï¿½ Nana Akufo-Addo, Mr Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen and Mr Addai-Nimoh ï¿½ contested the nationwide presidential primary in which Nana Akufo-Addo polled 117,413 votes, representing 94.35 per cent of the valid votes cast.
Though voting at the primary went on successfully and peacefully throughout the country, it is very disturbing that many of the NPP delegates, who are polling station executives and, therefore, perceived to be knowledgeable, had difficulty casting their votes correctly.
This must be a matter of concern to all well-meaning Ghanaians as the nation considers ways to fine-tune its electoral process.
Reports indicated that many of the rejected ballots had thumbprints on the partyï¿½s emblem, while others had delegates voting for more than one candidate.
That voters are getting confused with the voting process is not a good reflection of the countryï¿½s democratic credentials.
Although Ghana is getting mature democratically, the high incidence of rejected ballots recorded during elections must be curbed.
Sustained voter education and sensitisation programmes on the voting and thumb-printing processes, therefore, need to be intensified in order to curb the high number of rejected ballots in future elections.
The country cannot afford to throw vital votes away in the general election in 2016. For any political party to win power legitimately, every vote must count.
Political actors, including the political parties, the National Commission for Civic Education, the Electoral Commission (EC) and other governance institutions, must endeavour to play a much more active role towards reducing the high incidence of rejected ballots in elections.
Since political parties have a lot to lose or gain from the problem, they will do themselves a lot of good if they tackle the problem with the seriousness it deserves.
Going forward, it will be worthwhile for the EC to introduce electronic voting (e-voting) on an experimental basis with the internal elections of the political parties.
Other political parties are preparing for their congresses and they offer the EC the opportunity to try the option of e-voting as a move to stem the alarming phenomenon of rejected ballots.
Source: Editorial/Daily Graphic
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