Ghana’s voters register is neither bloated nor over bloated, it is statistically very credible and reliable for the conduct of any national and local elections, the Electoral Commission (EC) has said.
The Commission also said it is very transparent when it comes to voter verifiability due to the use of the biometric machine.
It explained that the demographic structure of each country differs, and there is no need for individuals or groups to make any comparisons of segments of population in relation to the voters register.
Deputy Chairman of the Commission, Mr Amadu Sule, told journalists at a capacity building workshop for the media in election reportage in Accra over the weekend, that the term “bloated” and “over voting” are not defined in the electoral laws.
There is no clearly stated definition of “over voting,” he said, adding that, instances where ballots cast are more than the number of registered voters at an electoral area and counting ballots that are more than the number of ballots issued at a particular electoral area are obvious cases of over voting.
He said that the terminologies are only defined in administrative language, noting that “bloated” means when persons who are 18 years and above are more than the registered voters.
Given the classical definition of the term, bloated, and the statistics furnished the EC by Ghana Statistical Service, Mr Sule said the voter register could not therefore be said to be bloated.
“The voted register is not bloated, it is a credible register, people have concerns and they have written to the EC and it has responded to them appropriately,” Mrs Georgina Opoku Amankwaah, EC Chairperson responsible for Finance and Administration added.
She said the EC has established platforms for people or groups to challenge the status of minors or foreigners, and therefore encouraged stakeholders to do so when such opportunities are created.
Journalists were urged to abreast themselves of the operations of the EC and its laws in order to appropriately inform the electorate to understand electoral terms such as irregularities, rigging, observer, ballot swapping and ballot stuffing.
The EC cautioned the media to refrain from misinterpreting electoral languages to the electorates because such acts have the potential of misleading and misinforming the public and consequently resulting in chaos.
It said the Commission faces serious challenges in organising local elections, adding it often records very low turnouts invariably less than 40 per cent, and pressed on the media to whip public interest to attract the right calibre of people to contest the District Assembly Elections.
About 6156 plates need to be printed for 6,156 electoral areas as well as the Unit Committee levels which demand a high volume of input by the EC, all these make organising elections at the district levels more challenging to the commission than in the general election.
Mr George Sarpong, Executive Secretary, National Media Commission asked the media to be very cautious about how they frame and contextualise political issues and use of certain terminologies.
“This is because; how the electorate perceive operations of political parties or political candidates, and commitment of electorates to particular political association is determined by the projections of the media.
“Therefore, the media must rededicate themselves to their work, reflect on what they want to do, and allow themselves to be guided by the ethics of the profession as well as their conscience,” he added.
Mr Steven Edminster, Director, Office of Democracy, Rights and Governance of USAID – Ghana said the United States deemed it relevant to support the EC in organising series of educational workshops for the media on electoral operations and laws, since it would be very productive for the nation.