The Kintampo North constituency recorded a whopping 1,349 rejected or spoilt ballot papers in the 2012 polls while registering an equally high figure of rejected or spoilt ballot papers at the recent local level elections.
To address the concerns, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), for instance, has been holding stakeholder engagements with identified social, political and professional groupings aimed at not only minimising the number of rejected or spoilt ballot papers but also ensuring a violent-free 2016 general elections.
In his maiden encounter with People With Disabilities (PWDs) in Kintampo, Mr. Abdulai Yakubu, the Municipal Director of NCCE observed that rejected or spoilt ballot papers in the previous elections resulted from the fact that some voters thumb-printed on two faces and in-between faces of presidential or parliamentary candidates.
According to him, the situation has compelled the Commission to educate the public, intimating that PWDs have the privilege to report directly to Presiding Officers of polling stations to allow them the chance to vote than being allowed to stay in the cue for long since their unfortunate plight was not their making.
Mr Yakubu spelt out the various electoral offences and sanctions to the PWDs and advised them to stay away from polling stations after casting their vote and could return to the polling stations when the results are being declared.
He underscored the need for sensitisation and education of the electorate, particularly the vulnerable, since they are the channel through whom able-bodied people, who are bread winners, could be enlightened, while stressing that committing electoral offences and attracting sanctions or sentencing could have a rippling effect on PWDs.
Mr. Ebenezer Nsowiah, the Brong Ahafo Regional president of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisation, used the platform to advice PWDs to be disciplined in society
and disagreed with the call for PWDs to be included in the special voters’ category to ensure some level of fairness in the electoral process.
He called on the public to recognise the importance of PWDs in the electoral process and not to shun them during elections.
So far, officials of NCCE have carried out intensive education for peaceful elections in some churches and have also taken their peace messages to Muslims who worship in mosques in Kintampo.