The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has advised all eligible voters in the upcoming December 7 polls to be diligent in the process of casting their votes to reduce the growing phenomenon of rejected ballots.
This requires clean hands, thorough examination of ballot papers to check EC’s stamp, and folding of the ballot papers properly to prevent ink marks in unwanted places.
Mr Samuel Tetteh, the Assin-Fosu Municipal Director of the Commission who gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) expressed worry about the huge numbers of rejected ballots during general election in the Country.
For some years now, rejected ballots had constituted a chunk of the votes cast in Ghana’s elections.
During the 2016 elections, 166,248 of the 10, 781,609 total votes cast, representing 1.35 percent were rejected.
In 2012, a whopping 251,720; representing 2.3 percent of total votes cast ended up being rejected while in 2008, the percentage was even higher; constituting 2.4 percent.
Mr Tetteh blamed the situation on lack of funds to carry extensive voter education and also entrenched positions taken by some polling agents when there was a little mistake on a ballot paper.
He said sometimes for lack of caution or anxiety, a voter’s thumbprint might stray a little over the intended item being thumb-printed.
In many cases, while folding the ballot paper or putting it into the ballot box some voters mistakenly soil the paper, rendering the ballot invalid.
Mr Tetteh advised voters to ensure that ballot papers given to them on election day had the EC stamp at the back.
The electorate must thumbprint for only one candidate and also avoid using pens to write names on the ballot papers.
He said, in the case where a voter made a mistake on the paper, he could go back to the electoral officer with the spoiled ballot paper for replacement.
Mr Tetteh, however, indicated that it was better to do the right thing to forestall the situation where there might be a shortage of ballot papers due to huge numbers of voters requesting replacement.