EC extends Special Voting to December 4

Vote_4The Special Voting set to be conducted Thursday December 1, 2016, didn’t go well. The voting exercise for security services personnel and other officers who would be serving on election day, December 7, was fraught with so many issues, including some voters not finding their names in the register.

The Electoral Commission (EC) has therefore extended the voting.

In a press release issued Thursday December 1, 2016 and copied to, the EC said, “in view of the challenges encountered during the Special Voting on December 1, 2016, the Special Voting should be continued on Sunday December 4, 2016.”

Among other factors, the EC indicated it was established that in numerous cases, the persons affected were those who could not take advantage of the earlier transfer window to transfer their votes to the Constituency where they wished to vote.

“This was the reason why such persons were assigned by the Commission to constituencies where they registered to vote and not where they will be assigned to work on Election Day or where they are currently deployed,” it said.

According to the EC, some security agencies did not submit any list of officers at all to take part in the Special Voting. Consequently, there was no way such officers could vote in the Special Voting.

It also pointed out that persons who transferred their vote and whose name appeared on the Special Voters list but could not vote on December 1, 2016 should be allowed to vote on Sunday December 4, 2016.

“Persons who did not transfer their votes, but whose names appeared on the Special Voters list, can only vote in the Constituency where they are registered. It is important to note that the opportunity to participate in the Special Voting is not an opportunity to transfer one’s vote,” it added.

The release stated that voters whose names are included in either the earlier list or the updated one provided to the political parties should be allowed to vote.

“It must be noted that the number of special voters on both lists are the same except that the Commission updated the earlier list by properly designating the constituencies to ensure that special voters vote only in constituencies where they are registered in line with the law,” the release said.

The EC said it would provide all political parties with a list of voters who voted on December 1, 2016, to enable them track those who are eligible to vote on December 4, and persons whose names are not on the Special Voters list would not be allowed to take part in the Special Voting.

The Commission urged the hierarchy of the security agencies to deploy such affected persons to work on Election Day, in areas close to the polling stations where they are registered to enable them to vote on December 7, 2016.

Such persons, the EC said, would be given priority at the Polls to vote early.

The EC states further that all the voters whose names are included in the Special Voters List are legally included on the Absent Voters List at their original polling stations. Therefore, their barcodes would be deactivated and they would be unable to vote on December 7, 2016.

“In order to guarantee the integrity of the ballots already cast on December 1, 2016, the Commission will grant the agents of the political parties and the respective Returning Officers, access to the Biometric Verification Devices in the Police Armory on Friday December 2, 2016 to reconfirm the number of persons who actually voted on December 1, 2016 before the device counter automatically resets itself to zero on Saturday December 3, 2016,” it said.

New ballot boxes would be provided for the Special Voting on Sunday December 4, 2016 and political parties would provide their seals for the additional ballot boxes and political party representatives would be allowed access to inspect the ballot boxes in the Police Armory during the period between December 2 and December 7, 2016 when the ballots of the special voting exercise are counted and declared, the EC said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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