The electorate have been advised to desist from selling their voter rights to politicians ahead of the district level and the main general elections. Rather, they should vote with their conscience for candidates that offer the best possibility to improve their standard of living.
The call was made at a workshop organised by the Western Regional Directorate of the Electoral Commission (EC) and was supported by the European Union (EU). It was themed, “Enhancing Participation and Stakeholders Confidence in Ghana's Election Process.”
Participants reminded voters not to underestimate the power of their thumb, which politicians are scared of, adding, they should rather cherish and jealously protect it.
According to them, vote buying politicians were those who have introduced black magic into the electoral process by compelling voters to swear to deities. Participants pointed out that those who influenced voters through such unorthodox and crooked methods did not deserve to represent them neither at the assembly nor Parliament.
They, therefore, suggested that a law should be enacted to check vote buying to make elections in Ghana free and fair. Similarly, they tasked officials of EC at the polling stations to be neutral in the discharge of their duties.
According to participants, certain religious sects who do register but do not vote, contribute to low voter turn-out during elections.
It was also suggested that the media and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) should be resourced enough to enable them to educate the voting public on the electoral law and processes.
The Western Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, Mr Stephen Opoku-Mensah, tasked stakeholders, media and the NCCE to assist the Commission to conduct credible, free and fair elections in the country.
Mr Opoku-Mensah appreciated the contribution of the media to the success of previous elections and implored them to continue sensitising the electorate on the electoral law and its attendant procedures.
He disclosed that 58 females and 1,592 males have filed their nominations to contest the District Level elections.
He warned candidates to avoid campaigning using political party colours and that anyone found culpable of any electoral offence would be disqualified or fined 250 penalty units, equivalent to GHC 3000.00.