General News Sun, 13 Nov 2016

EC sets parameters for determination of spoilt ballot papers

The Electoral Commission (EC) has set the parameters for the determination of the validity of a ballot paper.

'If a voter accidentally damages his or her ballot paper, for by tearing, dirtying it or if the ballot paper is severely torn when being removed from the ballot booklet, it must be cancelled and replaced.

'The voter should be given fresh ballot paper. A line must be ruled across the damaged ballot paper and the word 'Spoilt' written on it and placed in the envelop provided for the purpose,' the EC has stated in Election 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary manual tagged: 'A Guide to Voters,' made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

According to the EC, the Presiding Officer (PO) who is in charge of the Polling Station in deciding the validity of the ballot paper, must note that the entire space in the horizontal column which includes the photograph of the candidate, the symbol, and the blank voting space belong to the respective candidate and any thumb print made must be accepted.

The EC explained that a ballot paper should not be counted only if: 'It does not bear the official ballot validation of the polling station, it is blank, that is, it has no mark at all on it and so no candidate was selected.

'A ballot will also not be counted if it is marked for more than one candidate, there is reasonable doubt as to the candidate the person voted for, or something that identifies the voter has been written on it.''

The EC directed the Presiding Officers to show to Polling Agents present the 'Rejected Ballot paper,' and explain to him or her reason for rejecting the ballot.

The publication of the EC Guide to the Voter is captured under the 'GNA Tracks Election 2016 Project', being funded by GOIL, the foremost indigenous oil marketing company and CIMG 2015 Petroleum Company of the year.

The project seeks to sensitise the electorate on the various issues raised by political parties, the elections management body and other governance institutions.

It aims at ensuring gender and social inclusion in national politics and to provide voice for the youth, vulnerable groups, opinion leaders and the broader spectrum of the society, and to contribute to the achievement of peaceful polls.

Another objective of the project is to create a platform to dissect the manifestoes of all political parties and provide in-depth analysis of each thematic area to the electorate to enable them to make an informed judgment.
Source: GNA
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