Facts about vote rigging and the need to be vigilant - Part 1

Fri, 3 Jun 2016 Source: Badu, K

As a matter of fact, various forms of electoral fraud persist in both advanced and emerging democracies.

Ironically, electoral fraudsters often organised their villainous acts in different ways. For instance, the favoured candidate’s share of the votes can be increased through various illegal means, whereas the opponent’s share of the votes is suppressed using a number of sophisticated means.

The series look at how election “stealers” can suppress or steal votes in a myriad of ways.

The ravenous ways may include purging and/or caging of voter lists, as well as spoiling, ejecting, blocking, rejecting, "computerization”," tossing, and stuffing of ballots(over voting).

In no particular order, I will deconstruct the aforementioned rigging machinations in the weeks ahead.

Stuffing (Over Voting)

Stuffing boxes with phony ballots, and cheating with the counting behind the scenes, are the old-fashioned ways of rigging elections. Yet in contemporary elections, the evil act is still deployed by some fraudsters.

For, if that is not the case, how come election officials would issue say 150 ballots and ended up with 170 at the end of voting?

How do we classify such irregularity? Is that ‘stuffing of ballots’ or ‘influx of foreign materials?

Either way, for me, such act is criminal and squeamish. Thus it is befuddling to many discerning Ghanaians that such abominable act should be given a nod of affirmation.

In his 2013 election petition judgment, Justice Atuguba made some debatable observations including the definition of over-voting which was one of the claims brought up by the petitioners.

“The first is where the number of those who voted at a polling station exceeds the number of voters contained in the relevant polling station register.” “The second situation is where the number of ballots in the ballot book exceeds the number of ballot papers issued to the relevant polling station.” “Pondering over these two categories closely, I would think that the second category of over voting is rather an instance of ballot-stuffing as testified by Johnson Asiedu-Nketia,” the presiding judge delineated in his 48-page opinion.

Yes, I assent to the fact that ballot stuffing does exist, but the big question is: would such squeamish plot not amount to over voting, going by Asiedu Nketsia’s unconventional definition of over voting?

It will be recalled that Asiedu Nketsia infamously referred to over voting as “the influx of foreign materials in the ballot box”. How Bizarre?

And, is ballot stuffing not a criminal offence? To be quite honest, I will forever be in puzzled countenance with anyone who acknowledges ballot stuffing as a mere tort, considering the surreptitious and ravenous approach by the suspects.

What’s more, Dr Afari-Gyan admitted under cross examination that over voting may also occur in the event of the votes in the ballot box exceeding the number of verified voters. This, for me, is a poignant definition of over voting. For it would be easier to fish out the phony votes or stuffed ballot papers (Apologies to Justice Atuguba).

In fact, there are attestations to substantiate the rigging of elections.

The election body, in conjunction with the incumbency, may clandestinely increase the votes of the incumbent government through ballot stuffing; caging of the voters list; bizarre rejection of the opponent’s share of the votes; placing old and least reliable Biometric Verification Machines in the opponent’s precincts or strongholds.

In 2013 for instance, a Councillor from Manchester in United Kingdom disowned his daughter who was his opponent in local council elections. The daughter, who represented the Labour Party, came victorious in the county council elections. However, her father who was the incumbent and the representative of the UK Independent Party uncovered electoral malpractices and subsequently reported the matter to the police. Her father found out that she had registered four voters from another country in her home address. Unsurprisingly, the Labour Party subsequently dismissed her.

In another development, prior to the Scottish referendum, several Scottish newspapers reported that children as young as three to eleven years old were being handed with ballot cards. The newspapers alleged that the parents of the innocent children reported the cases to the authorities.

I shall return, until then, the watchword is VIGILANCE.

K. Badu, UK.


Goodman, A. (2012), The Silenced Majority: The Stories of Uprising

Did Chavez’ Pick Steal the Election in Venezuela? (www.gregpalast.com)

Billionaires and Ballot Bandits (www.gregpalast.com).

Columnist: Badu, K