Intensify voter education to reduce rejected ballots -CADA
The Centre for African Democratic Affairs (CADA) has asked political parties in the country to pay more attention to the issue of spoilt ballots in their interaction with the electorate as the December 7 general election approaches.
A release signed by Mr Frank Adarkwah Yiadom, Executive Director of CADA, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday noted that although it was good to mobilise as many supporters as possible, it was even more prudent for parties to ensure that their votes were not wasted.
“It is ironical to note that political parties spend a lot of time, energies and financial resources canvassing for votes but do little to effectively educate their members and supporters to ensure that their votes are secured and not rejected.”
The release indicated that to win elections every vote was critically important, given that a 50 per cent plus one vote was the minimum number required to win presidential elections in Ghana.
It said during the first round of presidential elections in 2008, a total of 205,438 votes out of 8,671,272 ballots cast were rejected, an indication that 2.4 per cent of total votes cast were rejected.
“This high number of rejected ballots is unacceptable and every effort must be made to intensify voter education so that precious votes are not wasted because voters are unable to make their intentions clearly known”, it added.
The release stated CADA’s conviction that the presidential race could be settled in the first round if minimal rejected ballots were recorded in the forthcoming election and therefore save the nation from any unnecessary political tensions, time and additional resources.
The number of first time voters may be higher in 2012 than had been recorded in previous years, the release pointed out, and said those new comers who had never voted in any national election would undoubtedly require effective voter education.
It cited the Electoral Commission and the National Commission for Civic Education as national institutions funded through the consolidated fund, calling for efficient collaboration between the two institutions to improve voter education in the country.
“Other Civil Society Organisations and organized groups are equally encouraged to support this noble activity of voter education in Ghana,” it urged.
CADA further urged religious groups to devote some time during their worship sessions to educate their congregation on the electoral process, and to seek assistance from professional bodies and individuals to sensitise their members on the electoral process. – GNA
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