Ghanaians started voting across the country, on Wednesday, to choose a President and 275 Parliamentarians after an exhaustive electioneering, as the country continues to build on its democratic credentials.
An estimated 15,712,499 registered voters are expected to cast their votes in some 28,992 polling stations nationwide.
Seven Presidential candidates representing six Political Parties and an Independent Candidate are contesting the Presidential Elections: Convention People’s Party (CPP); National Democratic Party (NDP); National Democratic Congress (NDC); Progressive People’s Party (PPP); New Patriotic Party (NPP) and People’s National Convention (PNC).
President John Dramani Mahama of the NDC, who is seeking a second-term, is being challenged by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP, Mr Ivor Kobina Greenstreet of the CPP, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the PPP; Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings of the NDP, Dr Edward Mahama of the PNC and Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, the Independent Candidate.
Voting started at 0700 hours and it is expected to end at 1700 hours in the open view of the public, the Electoral Commission (EC) has stated.
However, those in the queue at 1700 hours would be allowed to vote.
Political Party agents, and agents of candidates are observing proceedings at the polling stations, while security officers are stationed to main law and order to keep the peace.
There also local and foreign observers, including those of the European Union and the African Union monitoring affairs across the country.
Presiding Officers in charge of polling stations inspect the ballot papers in the presence of the agents, enter the total number, show the ballot boxes to the public to ascertain that they are empty and then place them in the open for voting.
The ballot papers bear the names of candidates, parties and symbols for voting in secret, even though, in the open.
Mrs Charlotte Osei, the Chairperson of the EC, told the Ghana News Agency that the Presiding Officer might extend the voting period if circumstances prevented the start of the polls at exactly 0700 hours.
She said the counting of the ballots cast would start immediately after the last voter had cast his or her vote to close the polls.
Thus, the Presiding Officer would open the ballot box in the presence of party agents and any other persons who would wish to witness the counting from a reasonable distance.
The EC Chairperson said the Presiding Officer would sort out ballots cast in favour of each candidate, count them one by one to the hearing of those present and once everybody was satisfied, record it on the Result Form.
The Presiding Officer would sign the form, while the agents certified that the results were correct, she said.
The Presiding Officer would then publicly announce the results and signed copies would be given to the party or candidate agent.