The Electoral Commission for the purpose of achieving a free and fair election during the December 7 poll has made certain acts or omissions punishable offences.
Any person or group of persons found guilty of an election offence may be fined or imprisoned or both, and a person may also be disqualified from voting or from holding public office.
This was contained in a document issued by the Electoral Commission (EC) entitled “Election 2012: What You Should Know,” in Accra.
According to the document, the extracted and simplified offences applies to voters be they election officials, politicians, candidates, party executives, government officials, security officers, or ordinary persons.
The document states that it is an offence to have one’s name in the register of voters of more than one polling station adding that “it is an offence to attempt to vote before the poll officially opens at 7:00 am or after it officially closes at 5:00 pm.”
It is an offence for minors, foreigners and unregistered voters to attempt to vote as well as for a person to attempt to vote more than once in the same election.
Another offence, the EC document has stated, is for a voter to be in possession of another person’s voter ID card without express authority from that person as well as voting in the name of another person living, dead or fictitious.
It further explained that it is an offence to impede or prevent a voter from freely exercising his or her vote by compelling him or her to vote in a particular way.
In this regard, a voter who wears particular clothing, or displays a symbol that indicates support for a particular party or candidate or makes a speech, sings a song or beats a gong-gong or drum, in support of a particular party or candidate commits election offence and would be duly punished.
Again, a voter commits an offence when he displays his marked ballot paper or makes it known to other voters the candidate he/she has voted for. Likewise one commits an offence when one prints, is in possession of, or supplies another person with a ballot papers without authority.
“One commits election offence when one tampers with a ballot box and its contents without authority as well as putting a foreign material other than a ballot paper in a ballot box, the EC document added.