A confidential source within the Electoral Commission (EC) has revealed to the Daily Post newspaper that the EC’s decision to forego the use of indelible ink in the upcoming 2024 General Election could pave the way for election rigging.

The source contends that the reliance on the Biometric Verification Device (BVD) may be insufficient, as it can verify a voter multiple times at different polling stations, creating a potential loophole.

Ahead of the Daily Post revelation, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) had called on the EC to reconsider its stance on eliminating indelible ink from the 2024 elections.

Jean Adukwei Mensah and her two deputies, Samuel Tetteh, and Dr. Eric Bossman Asare, as well as Ms Adwoa Asuma Abrefi, a member of the Commission at their swearing-in ceremony as new commissioners for the EC

“To be honest with you, with the process that we have for [voting] in Ghana, we could have easily done away with the indelible ink. We can easily do away with it (but) “You see the other side of it is also that sometimes we have these machines that we are using, the DVDs can break down. If it breaks down what are we going to do,” Mr Arhin said on JoyFM’s Newsnight.

Explaining, the EC source had explained that the EC’s BVDs are loaded with constituency data and assigned to their respective constituencies.

“For example, the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency has over 200 polling stations. This means that the EC will deploy over 180 BVDs, each with the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency data loaded. Don’t forget that the BVDs work offline. It should be noted that, while the BVDs are loaded with constituency data, they must be activated to specific polling stations by Technicians at the EC District office before they can be used to verify voters. The question is, what happens if this restriction is lifted?” the EC source said.

“This means that if a Technician decides not to activate the BVDs at their respective polling stations, a voter can be verified in any of the BVDs within the constituency and allowed to vote in collusion with an untrustworthy EC official. That is, a voter can vote in one electoral area and then move to another with the assistance of EC officials”, the EC person explained further.

“Similarly, if the EC decides to load Regional Data into the BVDs, a voter can move from region to vote. That becomes so simple when loaded with National Data. It is thus absurd for the EC to claim that they are removing the indelible because no voter can be verified twice”, he added.

Expatiating on the matter, the EC official said the indelible ink is used to physically identify people who have already voted.

“By removing this physical means of identification, we are allowing any criminally inclined EC official, in collaboration with a political party, to set the agenda of manipulating the EC processes for multiple voting within a constituency or region. Let us not forget that Ghana’s electoral system is 99.9% manual, and a compromised human in any of our electoral processes can jeopardize the system’s integrity”, he said.

“I must conclude that BVDs do not operate in isolation; they are operated by humans, so if a human is compromised, expect the BVDs to be compromised as well. The only reliable method of determining who has voted in an election is the use of indelible ink, not the BVD”, he concluded.

On December 18, 2023, the EC announced that in the 2024 elections and beyond, there would be no need for indelible ink.

The possible breakdown of the machines, the National Coordinator of CODEO, Albert Arhin had explained might be the reason the National Democratic Congress (NDC) consistently emphasised that it was wrong to remove the sole verification process since the inception of the electoral process in Ghana.

“I am sure that is the fear the party is entertaining, so let us use it as a backup. If I were the Electoral Commission, I will just use it as a backup because in our case sometimes the machines do break down. When they break down, the indelible ink is the last resort,” he said.

On the back of this, he urged the EC to reconsider its decision and if possible reinstate it.

On 18th December 2023, the EC announced that in the 2024 elections and beyond, there would be no need for indelible ink.

Speaking at a press conference, EC chair, Jean Mensa, said this was part of measures by the Commission to improve the electoral process and ensure a robust identification system.

Subsequently, the Minority in Parliament asserted that the EC was acting in breach of the 1992 Constitution with its decision to abandon the use of indelible ink for public elections.


Source: theheraldghana.com

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