Jean Mensa, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), has mounted a strong defense of the Commission’s decision to declare the results of the 2020 presidential elections 24 hours after polls.
According to her, the declarations will help defuse the tension that usually characterises the 2020 elections.
She said officials of the EC have been trained and equipped with the necessary logistics to ensure the results are declared within 24 hours after voting.
Ordinarily, the intention of declaring results is to minimize tension. After all, if you have the results why sit on it, why wait on the results when you have the results. We all know that our media houses have in the past been able to present the results in some ten hours of the poll and so if you’ve put in place systems to ensure that you receive the results on time why the panic.
“I think the panic should rather be when the EC says it will declare the elections after one week, then you should panic. But if you’re bringing in efficiency and allaying the fears and suspicions of persons I think we should be commended and encouraged rather we should all work together in order to achieve this,” she said at a press conference on the EC’s preparedness for the special voting exercise on Monday, December 1, 2020.
The Director of Elections of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described the EC’s plans to announce results for the elections 24 hours after polls as unrealistic.
According to Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, the bureaucratic nature of the manual results collation process would make it practically impossible for the EC to collect and certify results from all the 275 constituencies within 24 hours after the close of polls.
He said “After the close of polls, the ballots are sorted and counted at every polling station and then signed by both the party agents and the Presiding Officer. When that is done, the results of the polling stations are now sent to the constituency collation centre for the collation of the same in the constituency by the constituency’s Returning Officer. Before the Returning Officer can declare the results, the officer must see all the individual results from all the polling stations.
“Therefore, before the Electoral Commissioner who is the Returning Officer for the presidential elections declares the results, she must have received all the results from all the 275 constituencies, not the 16 regions and certify that what she has is truly what happened with the signatures of all the political party agents. That is what happens and it is the proper time tested system over the years. So one does not just wake up and say that we will announce just any results in 24 hours just to set a record.”