The opposition, National Democratic Congress (NDC) has raised red flags over the ongoing printing of ballot papers by the Electoral Commission (EC).
According to the NDC, they have uncovered some serious irregularities in the ballot printing process which threaten the transparency of the entire electoral process.
In an emergency press conference, Sunday, the NDC accused the Electoral Commission of failing to provide the ballot statistics required for party agents to track the number of ballot papers to be printed for each polling station prior to the commencement of printing of the ballots.
This, they say, is contrary to earlier practise where political parties were furnished with the ballot statistics even before the printing began to enable party agents validate the quantities of ballots printed.
“For the current ballot printing exercise, and in a rather shocking twist of events, the Electoral Commission rather directed the NDC to receive copies of the Ballot Statistics from the Printing Houses.
“One wonders how the Electoral Commission expects our Party Agents to successfully record and track the quantities of ballot papers being printed, when printing has already started,” the NDC stated.
Again, they accused the EC of “blatantly refusing” to provide serial numbers of the ballot papers to be printed per polling station to the NDC.
“Serial numbers play a very important role in ballot printing and tracking. Each ballot paper printed bears a unique serial number arranged in codes according to Region, District, Constituency and Polling Station.
“The essence of such an elaborate design for each ballot paper is to ensure that no two or more ballot papers bear the same serial number,” they said.
They were of the view that considering the incidence of duplicated Voter ID numbers in the just ended Voters’ Registration process, it was only dutiful of the EC to have provided them with the serial numbers to ensure that the papers can be tracked and for the avoidance of duplication.
The NDC have further accused the EC of over printing ballot papers towards the election.
According to the NDC, per convention and practice of the EC over the years, the EC is required to print an extra 5 percent of the total registered voters in each polling station to cater for spoilt ballots, however, the Jean Mensa-led EC is printing in excess of 5 percent.
“From the Ballot Statistics received from the Printing Houses, as coming from the EC, we have analysed the figures from 13 regions and observed that there is an excess of over 150,000 ballot papers being printed beyond the extra 5% required,” they said.
Finally the NDC disclosed the ‘nefarious’ activity of the Assembly Press, one of the contractors printing the ballot papers, of secretly printing more ballot papers on the blind side of party agents monitoring the process.
“The NDC completely abhors this irregularity, particularly, as the MD of Assembly Press (who is an appointee of the President) was an Aspirant who contested in the NPP 2020 Parliamentary Primaries in the Nkawkaw Constituency and the Convener of the Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA), pro-NPP pressure group,” the NDC stated.
The NDC has therefore written to the Electoral Commission to formally demand the ballot statistics for the printing of the ballot papers.
“To ensure transparency of the entire process it is highly imperative that our 24-hour Party Agents at these Printing Houses must be immediately provided with the Ballot Statistics to monitor the process as printing of Ballot Papers has already commenced,” the NDC wrote in their letter dated November 2, 2020.