THE Electoral Commission (EC) has given the assurance that the measures it has put in place for this year’s general election will drastically reduce the number of rejected ballot papers.
One of the measures is that the lines differentiating the pictures and party symbols of candidates on the ballot papers have been made bolder.
The Director of Operations of the EC, Mr Sarfo Katanka, in an interview said the measure was to ensure that if a voter improperly fingerprinted the space of the candidate of his or her choice the bolder borders would make it easy to ascertain the intent of the voter, hence the ballot will not be rejected.
This innovation is to reduce the incidence of rejected ballots in the December 7 polls.
Rejected ballots accounted for 1.53 per cent or 111,108 of the 7,256,872 votes cast in 1996; 1.58 per cent or 104, 214 of the 6,605,084 votes cast in 2000 and 2.13 or 188,123 votes of the total of 8,813,908 cast in 2004.
He said other innovations in the voting process this year would include the dipping of a finger in the indelible ink instead of the practice in the past where the cuticle of the thumb of voters were marked by polling officers with ink.
Mr Katanka said that it would be extremely difficult to clean the indelible ink, thus minimising double voting.
The EC, he said, was yet to settle on the finger to be dipped in the ink.
The issue of rejected ballots has engaged the attention of pollsters, the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) and civil society organisations.
Mr Ben Ephson, a pollster, when contacted pointed out that the total number of rejected ballots in 2000 and 2004 were more than the ballots of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Peoples’ National Convention (PNC) put together.
Political parties, he said, therefore needed to intensify voter sensitisation on the problem.
Mrs Augustina Akumayi, a Deputy Chairperson of the NCCE, conceded that the issue of rejected or spoilt ballots was important, particularly when so many ballots were involved.
She said that was why the NCCE seized the least opportunity to teach the electorate on the proper way of voting.
DAILY GRAPHIC, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2008