In a surprising turn of events at the ongoing Presidential Election Petition at the Supreme Court, Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan ended the second day of his cross examination by lead counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison, by accepting finally the petitioners definition of over voting which he had earlier denied in his examination in chief.
Counsel Philip Addison in ending his cross examination on the day presented Dr. Afari Gyan with a pink sheet from Temporary Booth Jinpenhi with Polling Station Code K030405, on whose face over-voting could be seen as the total ballots cast totalled 67, though the number of registered voters on the polling station register as indicated on the pink sheet was 21.
Counsel Philip Addison pointed out to Dr. Afari Gyan that on the face of the pink sheet, one could see a situation of over voting per the EC Boss’ classical definition. Dr. Afari Gyan stated that that was so but quickly pointed out that that was why he preferred referring to voters’ register to cross check – something he was allowed to do.
After crosschecking with the register, Dr. Afari Gyan stated boldly that the register which was tended on Tuesday had a total of 71 voters instead of the 21 which had been indicated on polling station.
It was at this point that Counsel Philip Addison suggested to Dr. Afari Gyan that over voting occurred at the polling station as a result of the total votes in the ballot box being more than the total ballots issued to voters at the polling station. To the surprise of many Dr. Afari Gyan immediately agreed to this statement of Counsel Philip Addison, contradicting his statements and posture during his examination in chief.
The pink sheet from the Temporary Booth Jinpenhi shows that although 66 ballots were issued to voters at the polling station, 67 ballots were found in the box and counted as part of the results at the end of voting which went to declare John Mahama winner of the 2012 election.
It would be recalled that the petitioners in their petition and during the examination in chief of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, star witness of the petitioners defined over voting in two ways. They indicated that over voting would be said to have occurred where the total ballots cast was more than the voters’ register at the particular polling station and secondly where the total ballots cast was more than the ballots issued to voters at the polling station.
The second definition by the petitioners was strongly denied by General Secretary for the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketiah when he took the witness box. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah stated categorically that there was no way over voting could have been said to have happened even if more votes are found in the ballot box than the ballots issued to voters as long as the votes in the box was not more than the register at the polling station.
Following in Asiedu Nketiah’s footsteps, Dr. Afari Gyan also tried strongly to avoid accepting the petitioners’ second definition of over voting. Dr. Afari Gyan stated that there was only one classical definition of over voting which was where votes in the ballot box were more than registered voters. Even when confronted with the reality that the so called classical definition could not be realistic as it did not take into account the fact that people could die or would fail to show up on Election Day, Dr. Afari Gyan still failed to accept the petitioners’ definition and said he had a problem with it.
The Petitioners are praying the court to annul 791,423 votes from 1,826 polling stations where over voting is recorded to have happened. Just an acceptance on the issue of over voting would mean that John Mahama could not have secured 50% +1 votes needed for an outright win.