CDD: Voter verification during Dec referendum lacked credibility of polls

Dr Franklin Oduro, Deputy Executive Director of Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), has raised concerns with the resort to manual verification of voters during last December’s referendum, which was not helpful to the integrity of the election.

“Although it is not illegal to do manual verification of voters during voting, the mass level at which it was carried out raised concerns about credibility of the polls.

“However, I was not surprised the two main political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), did not complain because they both supported creation of the new regions,” Dr Oduro noted.

He was speaking on the topic: ‘The 2018 referendum: Lessons for 2019 referendum and Election 2020,’ at a strategic partners’ learning event organised by the Northern Sector Action Awareness Centre (NORSAAC), a civil society organisation (CSO), in Tamale.

The programme formed part of NORSAAC’s ‘Referendum We Want’ project, supported by STAR Ghana Foundation and was aimed to share NORSAAC’s observation report on the December 2018 referendum on creation of new regions, for participants to assess the conduct of the poll, and make recommendations to help improve conduct of the upcoming referendum in September.

The NORSAAC’s report faulted electoral officials for wrong placing of voting booths, something, it said did not allow for the secrecy of voting.

It also indicted some of the officials for thumb-printing ballot papers for some of the voters and proceeding to drop these in the ballot boxes themselves.

Dr Oduro cautioned that “if we use discredited means to get a certain outcome against the will of the citizenry, the consequences will be dire for the country because the referendum to be held in September on the election of Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) is complex in terms of issues involved.

 “There is the need for more resources for state institutions to undertake effective and efficient public education to ensure the citizenry become well-informed to make the right decisions,” he stressed.

Alhaji Abdul Saani, Northern Regional Director of National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), highlighted the need to deepen efforts at building public confidence in the Electoral Commission (EC) to help the citizenry do a good job.

 Alhassan Awal, Executive Director of NORSAAC, said measures should be taken to ensure flaws identified during the December 2018 referendum, were not repeated. –GNA

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