Special Voting Lawsuit Waste Of Energy – Gabby Otchere Darko

A member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gabby Asare Otchere Darko has described the case filed at the Supreme Court for an order to compel the Electoral Commission to announce special voting results on the day it is held as a waste of energy.

According to him, the focus should rather be on finding ample ways to secure the sealed ballot boxes till the Election Day.

“I think we are wasting precious energy and focus on demanding for an early count of special votes. The focus rather should be on how to ensure total security of the sealed ballot box before it is counted along with all others after voting on December 7th,” he said in a Facebook post.

A member of the NPP, Dr. Kwame Amoako-Tuffuor and two others who dragged the EC to court over the issue argued that section 23 of the law which regulates the conduct of the 2016 general elections, C.I. 94, is inconsistent with article 49 of the 1992 constitution.

The trio insisted that the special voting results “…ought to be counted and announced there and then on the date(s) of the special voting.”

But Gabby noted that the case would expose Ghana’s security operatives who usually take part in this kind of voting.

“Why would anyone want to expose our security personnel, especially military personnel in the barracks, as having voted one way or the other? Would that not even influence a general hesitation towards voting against the incumbent?”

Gabby further argued that announcing the special voting results was not done anywhere in the world, not even in developed countries.

“Frankly, I cannot understand what the fuss on the counting of special votes is all about: No where in the world is special or early voting counted on the day and before the general election date. The principle is sound: so that it will not prejudicially influence the general voting public one way or the other,” he added.

What the C.I. 94 says

Per the C.I. 94 the returning officer shall at the end of the special voting:
Ensure that the ballot boxes are kept in safe custody after the poll has closed;

Ensure that the ballot boxes are sealed with the seals of the Commission and any candidates who wish to add their seal; and

Arrange for the ballot boxes to be opened at the time of the counting of the votes cast on the polling day and the ballot papers shall be counted in the same manner as those contained in the ballot boxes used on the polling day.

But Dr. Amoako-Tuffuor and his other plaintiffs are seeking a true and proper interpretation of Article 49 of the constitution “and Section 13 of the Representation of the People Law, 1992; PNDCL 284; the ballots to be cast pursuant to Regulation 23(1),(2),(3)(,(4),(5),(6),(7),(8)(9) and (10) of the Public Elections Regulations, 2016; CI.94 by special voters in the December, 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections ought to be counted and announced there and then on the date(s) of the special voting; by the presiding officers and the results at each polling station; before communicating same to the returning officer.”

Reliefs sought by plaintiffs

A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 49 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992 ,‘special voting’ as provided for by Regulation 23 of the Public Elections Regulations, 2016; CI.94 is a part of public elections.

A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 49 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992, and Section 13 of the Representation of the People Law, 1992; PNDCL 284; the ballots to be cast pursuant to Regulation 23(1),(2),(3)(,(4),(5),(6),(7),(8)(9) and (10) of the Public Elections Regulations, 2016; CI.94 by special voters in the December, 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections ought to be counted and announced there and then on the date(s) of the special voting; by the presiding officers and the results at each poling station; before communicating same to the returning officer.

A declaration that Regulation 23(11) of Public Elections Regulations, 2016; CI.94 is inconsistent with Article 49 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992.

An order striking down Regulation 23(11) of Public Elections Regulations, 2016; CI.94 as being inconsistent with Article 49(2),(3)(a) and (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992 and Section 13 of the Representation of the People Law, 1992; PNDCL 284.

An order directed at 1st Defendant to comply with the provisions of Article 49(2),(3)(a) and (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992 and Section 13 of the Representation of the People Law, 1992; PNDCL 284 in respect of special voting for the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections and any subsequent public election in the Republic of Ghana.

Source: citifmonline.com
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