EC refutes Muntaka ballot-stuffing claims at Asawase
The Ashanti Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr Benjamin Barnor-Bio, has stated that the papers used by an individual in an attempt to stuff the ballot box are not from the EC.
He said the EC’s ballot papers had unique identification numbers but the ones found in possession of the culprit, who is in police custody, did not possess valid identification.
“The papers are not from the EC. It was something somebody printed to discredit the process,” Mr Barnor-Bio said at a press conference on December 7.
He said the EC’s ballot papers have a watermark and a unique stamp number.
He emphasised, “Nobody can cheat the system”.
The EC said the fake papers were made of light paper, printed with faint colours and had no serial numbers.
He said the EC was determined to ensure transparency and a fair election.
He was reacting to concerns by Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak Mohammed after the arrest of a man who allegedly attempted to stuff a ballot box with already thumbed printed papers.
The MP for Asawase alleged that the suspect had the ballot papers marked for his opponent and the EC’s official stamp.
“Should it happen that there is a single over voting, we will ask for the validation of every single ballot paper.
“By the time those sheets are inspected, we will be able to fish the wrong sheets because every ballot paper has a serial number,” he said.
Under Ghana’s electoral laws, votes at a polling station can be cancelled if the votes in the ballot box are more than the number of verified voters.
Meanwhile, Director of Electoral Services for the EC, Dr Serebour Quaicoe, has also explained that there are three processes namely reconciliation, machine verification and counterfoil verification which would detect any invalid ballots.
The processes would have to be undertaken and if officials are satisfied before the counting of ballots would be undertaken.
“If he [the culprit] had succeeded in putting them [ballot papers] in [the box], then what we would have done is reconciliation and auditing, and we could have fished out the legal ones [ballots] using the serial numbers because every polling station has unique serious number range so if you bring any paper outside that serial number range, it would be found out”.
Explaining further, Dr Quarcoe noted that immediately voting was over, the biometric machine will indicate the number of people who have voted. The officials would then check the counterfoils from which the ballot papers were taken to confirm the records on the biometric device.
When the ballot box is emptied, the officials will turn the ballot papers upside down and cross-check whether the papers had been validated and then the number involved of legitimate paper.
He insisted that the “three processes must tally”.
The counting process would then proceed only after the officials are satisfied with the processes.