Facts About Votes Rigging and the Need to be Vigilant-Part 2

Sun, 5 Jun 2016 Source: Badu, K

In as much as it has been well documented that well-designed electioneering messages mostly win elections (Baek 2009), the manoeuvres or the adroitness of the opponent must not and cannot be overlooked with a stark perfunctory.

It is also true that a Political Party would often have melodious electioneering messages, however, the ploys of the incumbency have to be uncovered and neutralised for the opposition to stand a chance.

What’s more, it would be strategically suicidal on the part of the opposition to sit idly and inure the shenanigans of an opponent who has an inborn inclination for influencing the outcome of elections.

Suffice it to say that such vicious act is often effective in gaining electoral advantage in developing countries (Ames 1995).

As a matter of fact, an election body, in conjunction with the incumbent government, would execute their evil acts which may include purging, which is a clandestine act designed to alienate eligible voters from exercising their democratic rights.

Purging in partisan election is simply the unlawful ‘deletion or cleansing’ of suspected political opponents from the voters register by officials through computer databases that identify voter characteristics (tribe/ethnicity, residence location, etc.,--emphasis mine).

In other words, the databases would roll names of persons likely to be sympathetic to the opposition party. And, often, the election officials would give flimsy and garrulous excuses for the removal of duly registered voters.

Regrettably, however, purging unnecessarily takes away the democratic rights of some citizens. More importantly, this disgusting practice unjustifiably puts a particular political party at a substantial disadvantage in the elections.

What’s more, electoral officials could prevent or block eligible voters from registering or voting. Blocking registration, in its simplest form, is whereby the partisan election officials turn down registration applications, selectively, sometimes without informing the eligible voter. To save officials the trouble of doing even that, gratuitous directives are often put in place to prevent eligible voters from registering.

In Florida, for example, officials instituted registration rules so picky, with penalties so severe that groups carrying out registration drives, like the League of Women Voters, were pushed to the sidelines in that state.

There may also be some instances whereby some registered voters may be sent away when they show up to vote. The ejection occurs mainly when a registered voter fails to produce state-approved photo ID.

In USA for instance, some IDs, like gun-owners' licenses, may be approved, while others, such as food stamp photo IDs, are not.

Anecdotally, in the December 2012 general elections in Ghana for example, the then newly introduced Biometric Verification Machines “Allegedly” rejected and prevented some duly registered voters from exercising their democratic rights. Whereas other registered voters were allowed to cast their votes regardless of non-biometric verification.

Indeed, if that was the case, then some registered voters were treated unfairly in the process and must not happen in the subsequent elections.

More recently, we witnessed how a number of students from tertiary institutions across the country were unnecessarily blocked from registering during the 2016 limited registration exercise by not providing adequate Biometric registration machines.

Clearly, such an unpardonable act does not promote the spirit of universal adult suffrage we are all craving for.

I shall be back, until then, the watchword is VIGILANCE.

K. Badu, UK.

Columnist: Badu, K