CODEO scores electoral process high marks(Dec 8, 2016)

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has scored the electoral process high marks indicating that the arrangements put in place by the Electoral Commission (EC) for setup and opening of polls were adequate for most polling stations nationwide.
Officials and polling station time
According to the observer group’s midday situational statement (a preliminary report), CODEO Observers reported that “voting generally commenced on time. By 7:15 a.m., 60 per cent had opened (over half of the polling stations). Another 33 per cent opened between 7:16 and 8 a.m, adding up to 93 per cent opening by 8 a.m.”
 
According to CODEO statistics, the Ashanti Region topped regions where polling stations were opened by 7.15 a.m. (71 per cent), followed by Greater Accra (67 per cent), Central (66 per cent) with Upper East pegged at the bottom (39 per cent).

In terms of regions where polling officials arrived by 7 a.m., Greater Accra topped (92 per cent), followed by Central Region (90 per cent) and Western (79 per cent) with Upper East scoring the lowest at 63 per cent.

It was not, however, a hitch-free election as a Co-Chair of CODEO, Mr Justice V. C. R. A. C. Crabbe, who released the report, said: “In Jaman North Constituency, we have received reports from our observers that most polling stations have not opened due to delays in the arrival of election materials and issues related to the voter register.”

The report showed reported cases (27) of intimidation and harassment at the polling stations at Kojo Nkwanta D/A Primary School in the Adansi Asokwa Constituency in the Ashanti Region; Apaaso L/A Primary School in the Kintampo South Constituency, Susuanso CMB Shed in Tano North Constituency, both in the Brong Ahafo Region; Town Hall in the Cape Coast South Constituency and Taxi Station at Potsin Junction in Gomoa East Constituency in the Central Region. Other reported incidents were in Koransan at Achiase in the Achiase Constituency and Aboasa L/A Primary School, both in the Eastern Region.

Mr Justice Crabbe said there were also reported cases of violence at seven polling stations in Pru East in the Brong Ahafo Region; Upper Manya Krobo in the Eastern Region; Ayawaso Central and Madina constituencies in the Greater Accra Region, Savelugu in the Northern Region and Krachi Nchumuru in the Volta Region.

Setup for polls
The reports from CODEO Observers indicate that 91 per cent of polling stations were setup so voters could mark their ballots in secret.

Additionally, the reports also indicated that almost all (96 per cent) of the polling stations were accessible to persons with disability and the elderly. Furthermore, at the time of setup, the two main political parties had their polling agents present in almost all the polling stations (NDC, 99 per cent; NPP, 99.5 per cent) with polling agents of the other parties and independent candidates present only in some of the polling stations.

“Reports received from CODEO Observers showed that in 90 per cent of the polling stations, all election materials were available at the time of opening.”

According to CODEO observers, the voter register and biometric verification device were available in almost all polling stations (96 per cent and 95 per cent, respectively).

“Cases where items were reported as not present were due to the late arrival of some materials. CODEO Observers could confirm that in all the polling stations, the presidential and parliamentary ballot boxes were shown to be empty, sealed and placed in public view before the commencement of voting,” Mr Justice Crabbe said.

On security, he said: “CODEO Observers reported seeing uniformed security personnel at post at 88 per cent of polling stations.”

Field officers
The preliminary report is based on reports CODEO has received from 1,486 out of the 1,500 Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) Observers from every region and constituency.
CODEO deployed about 8,000 trained, accredited, non-partisan observers.

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