A Ghanaian based in Togo, Mr John Adama, has developed new voting systems that will eliminate the high number of spoilt or rejected ballot papers recorded in elections.
The new systems, called the “Jak Makavo systems”, has three different dimensions where a voter will not be required to use ink when voting for their preferred candidate.
Currently, Ghana’s electoral voting system uses ink on a ballot paper. Voters are required to place their thumb in ink and thumbprint the side of their preferred candidate or political party.
Over the past years, there have been growing concerns regarding the high number of spoilt ballot papers recorded in elections.
In 1992, rejected ballots accounted for 3.6 per cent of the valid votes cast and reduced to 1.5 per cent in 1996, but in the first round of the 2000 general election, it accounted for 1.8 per cent of the valid votes cast and reduced to 1.58 per cent during the presidential run-off.
The figure soared in 2004, constituting 2.2 per cent of the votes cast while in 2008 it constituted 2.4 per cent of the valid votes cast.
The number of rejected ballots recorded in the first round of the 2008 presidential race was unprecedentedly higher than ever, both in terms of percentages and in terms of absolute figures.
According to the EC, as many as 205,438 ballots were rejected in the 2008 elections, which constituted 2.4 per cent of the total of 8,671,272 votes cast.
This number was described hypothetically as the “Rejected Ballot Party” in the 2008 presidential race.
In the 2012 general election, 251,720 rejected votes (2.3 per cent) were higher than the total votes secured by all the other presidential candidates, excluding those of the NDC and the NPP.
But explaining how the new voting system operates, Mr Adama said the concept “has been designed in such a way that it will help strengthen Ghana’s democratic credentials by eliminating the spoilt or rejected ballots phenomenon.”
In the first instance that he suggested, the ballot papers have two logos of each political party contesting in the election. The duplicate logos of each party are situated at the top of the ballot paper. Each duplicate logo is removable.
The voter only needs to remove the duplicate logo of the political party of choice and paste it in the square box directly beside the candidate and the party’s original logo.
Under the second suggested voting system, the concept uses a ballot paper and a separate sticker or stamp for the voter.
In the voting box, the voter only needs one sticker or stamp, apply a drop of water to the back of it and paste it in the box beside the photograph of the candidate and the logo of the political party the voter intends to vote for.
For the third voting system, a ballot paper is provided. The box beside the photograph of the candidate as well as the logo of the political party is perforated.
The voter only needs to remove the hanging piece of the paper beside the photograph of the preferred candidate as well as the logo of the preferred political party.
A resultant vacuum or a hole is created beside the photograph of the candidate as well as the logo of the political party and the vote is valid for that candidate and the political party.
Mr Adama said the new voting systems when implemented by the Electoral Commission (EC) would go a long way to solve the challenges bedevilling the current system of voting.