The Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson has charged polling agents to take their role in Wednesday's presidential and parliamentary elections seriously.

Charlotte Osei says polling agents have a key role to play in supporting the integrity of the elections and must do so devoid of dissension.

At the last press conference at its headquarters in Accra 12 hours for Ghanaians to elect a president and 275 members of parliament (MPs), the EC boss outlined what she described as the "Do's and Don'ts for polling agents."

The role of political party agents during elections have been behind some infractions recorded in the six general elections conducted in the country.

One key issue identified during the eight months long 2012 election dispute was the failure of polling agents to sign the Form Eight popularly known as Pink Sheet.

Not wanting a repeat of challenges posed by polling agents, the Commission said it has identified some things political party agents can do and what they cannot.

Do's of Polling Agents

Mrs Osei said the agents are permitted to position themselves to clearly see or hear what is happening at the polling centres as well as to call the attention of the presiding officer should they feel some irregular activities happening; if possible they can fill the irregularity forms. 

"They are allowed to help the presiding officer at his request if he doubts the identity of a voter and also pay close attention to rejected ballot and counting of votes and make sure a vote goes in favour of the individual to whom it is cast.

According to the EC boss, agents can call for a recount if they suspect it was not done properly and "they are required to sign the declaration of results forms and to ensure that the total number of votes obtained by their candidate or party are recorded properly and obtained a copy of the results form. 

She said it is within the right of an agent to refuse to sign the declaration forms but they must provide an explanation in writing why they have declined to sign the forms.

“It is important to remember that their refusal to sign does not invalidate the results,” she noted adding that the agents are not to have anything portraying their party affiliation to the centres.

Don't's of Party Agents

“Agents are not allowed to interfere with election administration such as the counting of the ballots after polls have closed.

Mrs Osei stressed that agents have no business to inspect the ID cards of those in the queue and they cannot directly confront any person at the polling station or prevent anyone from voting adding, "they must respect the rights of voters at all times."

Highlighting further on the Don't's of polling agent's she said they cannot assist a voter who needs help to vote as that is the job of the presiding officer. 

"Agents have no right to give orders to the election staff or in any way interfere or disrupt their work. They must not attempt to know how someone is going to vote or how a voter has voted. 

"They are not allowed to handle any election material without the permission of the presiding officer and it is not their duty to supervise the work of the polling staff as that is the work of the presiding officer," she said. 

The EC boss said the presiding officer reserves the right to remove any party or candidate agent, whose behavior or conduct is disruptive of the work of polling officials, from the polling station.