The pictures of assembly member candidates and those of Unit Committee member candidates were printed in black and white making it difficult for the electorate to identify their preferred candidates, NORSAAC, a civil society organization, has observed.
NORSAAC said “in some cases, the pictures were so dark that it was difficult to recognise a candidate by face. The swapping of positions of candidates on ballot papers in some electoral areas created confusion”.
It said, “In some polling stations in the Tamale Metropolis, the positions of candidates were changed during the final printing and this was different from the positions they initially balloted for.
In some places in the metropolis, wrong names were assigned some candidates. At Kuga Fong No. 1 Polling Station at Savelugu, a candidate’s image appeared twice replacing a fellow candidate”.
This formed part of NORSAAC’s preliminary findings on its observation of the 2019 District Level Elections (DLE) held on December 17, to elect District Assembly and Unit Committee Members across the country.
The preliminary findings were presented at a press conference at Shishegu, near Tamale on Wednesday and addressed by Madam Kawusada Abubakari, Gender and Governance Manager of NORSAAC.
NORSAAC deployed a 17-member observation team that visited 90 polling stations in nine constituencies in the Northern, North East, Savannah and Upper East Regions to observe the conduct of the DLE.
The constituencies included Tamale Central, Tamale South, Tamale North, Savelugu, Sagnarigu, Yapei-Kusawgu , Yagaba-Kubori, Bolga East and Bolga Central.
NORSAAC’s preliminary findings showed that voting took place in a classroom at a polling station in the Yapei-Kusawgu Constituency due to unavailability of voting screens.
It said, “The scare of abusing the manual verification forms also disenfranchised some voters since few or no copies were provided to electoral officers”.
It said, “In some polling stations with more than 600 voters, only few or no manual verification forms were provided.
The presiding officers sometimes referred the voters to other polling stations to “beg” manual verification forms to be completed for them.
A typical observation was made at the Ihyaayideen ‘A’ Polling Station in Tamale South, where a voter, who could not be verified electronically, was asked to look for the manual verification forms elsewhere”.
It said there was poor security presence at almost every polling station. In more than 20 polling stations, there were no security personnel present. In an electoral area in the Tamale North for example, a cluster of four polling stations had no single security person present”.
It commended the Electoral Commission for the professional training handed its election officials, saying they exhibited a great deal of neutrality during the polls.
It also commended the Electoral Commission for ensuring that polling stations were disability-friendly saying “This must be sustained in the December, 2020 general election and beyond”.
NORSAAC expressed appreciation to STAR-Ghana Foundation for funding “The Referendum We Want” project, which supported the observation of the DLE.