A pre-election survey conducted by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) from September 28 to October 16, 2020, has revealed that Ghanaians overwhelmingly accept the Electoral Commission’s (EC) authority to declare results.
It shows that 94 per cent of respondents agree that the EC has authority to say who won or lost the election.
The pre-election survey results also revealed serious concerns about the integrity of the vote count and result transmission process.
A large minority – more than four in 10 – expressed concerns about the wrong vote tally, and about a third are not confident that their votes would be counted.
Dr Edem Selormey, the Director of Research at CDD-Ghana, in her presentation on the key findings of the survey, said that was the likely reason why a substantial majority of respondents wanted to see independent domestic and international observers present for the polls.
However, the general outlook of the December 2020 polls indicates that most eligible Ghanaians had registered to vote and many were planning to do same.
Nearly all respondents reported that they were registered to vote; nine in 10 indicate an intention to vote, and the likelihood of COVID-19 depressing voter turn-out in the December polls was downplayed.
The public expressed broad confidence in the integrity and competence of the EC and its ability to deliver free and fair Election 2020, she said.
With a sample size of 2,400, all respondents were randomly selected across the country and the survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice (a standard English questionnaire was translated into Twi, Ewe, Ga, Dagbani and Dagaare).
Initiated in 2016, the CDD-Ghana pre-election survey is aimed at picking early warning signals by tracking citizens’ opinion on the overall level of the country’s preparedness for elections; public confidence in the competence, integrity and neutrality of election-relevant state and quasi-state bodies; and voter behaviour, expectations, priorities and potential turn-out.
Dr Selormey said respondents deemed the EC’s level of preparedness, together with other election-related state and non-state agencies (particularly the military and police), adequate.
She said among the key findings was that levels of trust in the EC and other non-party state and non-state bodies directly and indirectly involved in delivering peaceful elections with credible outcomes were generally high, particularly for the military, police, and media.
Dr Selormey, however, said there was considerable apprehension about violence by party and candidate supporters.
“They remain concerned about the activities of party vigilantes – which is underscored by the desire of 8 in 10 respondents in our survey for armed security personnel present at the polling stations,” she said.
Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh, the Executive Director, CDD-Ghana, called for intensification of voter education, saying the electorate should understand that the election and outcomes were credible and that it reflected their preferences.
He anticipated that the key findings would be useful to stakeholders in contributing towards ensuring a free, fair and peaceful elections.