By William Nlanjerbor JALULAH
The Ashanti Regional Director for the Electoral Commission, Serebour Quaicoo, has entreated media practitioners to read and learn more about the electoral laws and electoral terms so as to avoid misinforming or confusing the public.
According to him, it is embarrassing to hear media practitioners who are expected to know better, resort to misusing electoral terms and getting their listeners and readers more confused than getting them educated.
Mr. Quaicoo was opening a workshop on Data Journalism currently underway in Kumasi, organized by Penplusbytes with support from USA Embassy in Ghana. It has drawn selected journalists from the Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions. It is part of activities under the “Voter’s Count – amplifying voices through new digital platforms” Project which is aimed at improving access to electoral information, creating space for citizens dialogue and promotion of issue based approach to campaigning during Ghana’s 2016 elections being spearheaded by Penplusbytes.
He said; “Some of you don’t know the difference between a spoilt ballot and a rejected ballot. So while talking about reject ballot, you will be using the word spoilt ballot but, you should that spoilt ballots do not enter ballot box but rejected ballots are found in ballot boxes. Again, some of do not know the difference between polling stations and polling centres. In Ghana, we normally use polling stations while in some countries, they use polling centres. So a polling centre may be made of a cluster of polling stations. Again, you need to know the difference between counting of ballot and collation of ballot”. He cited the 2012 election issue in the Dome-Kwabenya constituency where a re-collation was done but the media kept reporting recounting which was misinformation.
Mr. Quaicoo explained that recounting is done only at the polling station. He said it is only somebody raises an objection after double recount that a recount will be done at the polling station and the law allows the recount of that polling station only. So you cannot go to a collation centre and request for a recount of ballot and you can also not go to a polling centre, once you have lost marginally, you ask for recount of all results, it not allowed in the law.
He also explained the difference between electoral process and voting process. He said the electoral process involves the various steps that are undertaken throughout before the elections are conducted including demarcations, compilation of voter’s register, exhibition, nomination, voting and collation of results. Voting process on the other hand, he said, is joining the queue, being verified and being given a ballot paper to go and vote.
Touching on election outcome, the director stated that no matter the outcome of the results, losers will complain of but, what is important for the EC and all election stakeholders must do is to ensure there is an efficient system that will do a good job.
Mr. Quaicoo expressed optimism that with the measures put in place by the EC, the commission will deliver the best election so far for Ghana.