The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Jean Mensa, has assured Parliament that the commission is 95 per cent ready to conduct a successful, credible, fair, orderly and peaceful election on December 7.
She said the commission had already procured a wide range of election materials for the 2020 elections, ranging from ballot boxes, thumbprint pads, stationery, identification jackets, polling station booths, rechargeable lamps, indelible ink, educational posters, seals, among others.
Presenting the commission’s road map to the 2020 elections to Parliament, she said: “As we speak, the distribution of these items to our regions and districts is underway.
“I can confirm that as a result of the thorough planning and distribution mechanisms employed, we are about 95 per cent done with the distribution of election materials to our various locations across the country. What is left to be delivered are the ballots and registers,” Mrs Mensa said.
Procurement of vehicles
She said the EC had procured vehicles to help facilitate the movement of its staff and promote the delivery of their mandate at the district level.
She said the commission had procured 147 vehicles, made up of 15 motorbikes, 30 four-wheel drives, 107 pick-ups, eight haulage trucks and two Coaster buses, costing GH¢38.37 million.
That, she indicated, had bolstered the efficiency of its staff, as well as the swift movement of goods and materials from the stores of the EC to the regional and district offices.
The EC Chairperson said the commission had, to date, employed close to 233,632 temporary officials, made up of returning officers and their deputies, presiding officers, verification officers, name reference officers as well as COVID-19 ambassadors, for the December 2020 Elections.
“A comprehensive training programme has been drawn for each category of officials. We are confident that with the capacity building provided, our teams will be equipped with the requisite skills to enable them to perform excellently on election day,” Mrs Mensa stated.
2020 voters register
She added that the new voters register that was recently compiled embodied eligible individuals only.
“To date, the register has a total number of 17,029,971 voters. We are confident of the credibility and integrity of the 2020 voters register and are pleased with the collaboration and cooperation of the citizenry at all levels, particularly at the district level, as well as magistrates, to ensure that only eligible Ghanaians participated in the process.
“Mr Speaker, as we speak, we have 32,621 people who have been placed on the multiples and the exceptions list. Of these, 18,619 engaged in multiple registration and 14,002 engaged in various illegal practices, including underage voting and voting by non-Ghanaians. They are all on the list we call exceptions list,” she explained.
She said the printing of the 2020 register was also underway, and that the commission was confident that it would complete the process and distribute the registers well in time for the December 2020 elections.
“It is important to note, Mr Speaker, that the political parties have submitted their hard drives to the commission. A soft copy of the register was made available to them yesterday, the 6th of November, 2020,” she noted.
Printing of ballots
The EC Chair also pointed out that the printing of ballots was currently underway in seven printing houses in Accra.
The printing houses are Buck Press Limited, Assembly Press (Ghana Publishing Company), Fonstat Limited, Innolink, Yasarko Limited, Checkpoint Limited and Acts Commercial Limited.
She said majority of the companies were printing houses which the commission had used since 1992.
“As I speak, agents of the political parties and the security agencies are monitoring the processes in all the printing houses,” the EC Chairperson maintained.
Notice of Poll
Mrs Mensa further indicated that the printing of the Notice of Poll for the general election was almost complete.
She said while that for the presidential election had been done for all regions, except the Eastern Region, the Poll of Notice for the parliamentary election was near completion.
“I am happy to report that printing of the Notice of Poll for the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections has been completed. In terms of the presidential ballot, printing for the Ashanti, Volta, Greater Accra, Western, Central, and Oti is completed.
“Also, Northern, Western, North East, Bono, Bono East, Ahafo, Upper East and Upper West regions have been completed,” she added.
Mrs Mensa also pointed out that the printing of the Results Collation Sheet for the presidential and parliamentary elections, popularly known as the Pink Sheets, would commence yesterday, 8th November 2020.
She said all political parties had been informed accordingly and would monitor the process.
Plan against COVID-19
The chairperson also noted that the commission had procured and distributed COVID-19 related items, such as infrared thermometers, Veronica buckets, liquid soap, tissue paper and hand sanitiser, to ensure the safety and security of its stakeholders.
“We have distributed all these items to our regions and districts ahead of the elections and we are confident that the protocols put in place and the materials procured will help curb the spread of the virus at all polling stations and collation centres throughout the country,” she said.
Mrs Mensa said from today, the commission would roll out an extensive publicity drive aimed at educating the citizenry on how to vote and encourage them to exercise their power.
She said special officers, named COVID-19 Ambassadors, would be deployed to all 38,622 polling stations throughout the country.
Their duty would be to enforce the safety protocols and ensure that the COVID-19 items at the centres were put to effective use, she added.