The Electoral Commission has clarified that the proposed electronic transmission of election results in 2016 will only be done from the constituency collation centres and not from polling stations.
According to the Commission, it will not be practically possible considering infrastructure challenges and the cost involved, to transmit election results electronically from all 29,000 polling stations across the country.
Rather, presiding officers after declaring results at the polling stations, will have to personally deliver their polling station results to the constituency collation centres for them to be entered on the collation sheet by hand writing.
After that, party agents and election officers will append their signatures to the tallied constituency results and then scan and transmit electronically to the national collation centre in Accra.
In the past, the same procedure had been used except that the EC relied on fax machines to transmit constituency collated results from its Regional offices to the national collation centre (previously called Strong Room).
The new introduction according to the EC’s explanation is that, instead of going to the regional office to rely on fax, the results will rather be scanned and transmitted from the constituency collation centre directly to the national collation centre.
This means going to the Regional office before getting to national [Accra] through fax will be eliminated.
Explaining how the system would work in a radio interview on Okay FM Thursday morning, Head of communications at the EC, Mr Eric Kofi Dzakpasu said, ”nobody has said he was going to transmit results electronically from the 29,000 polling stations.”
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) had accused the EC of not being transparent enough about the proposed method arguing the method had failed in other countries including Kenya, Ecuador and Mexico.
According to the party’s Campaign Manager, Mr Peter Mac Manu, the new proposed method in the way the EC intends to implement it fails to address the critical challenges that the reform process seeks to overcome and also added that there was no law giving the EC power to electronically transfer results.
In a radio interview with Citi FM, Mr Manu said the EC put out an advert in the Daily Graphic eliciting companies to bid for the electronic transfer of 29,000 polling station results.
The National Democratic Congress at a press conference on Wednesday accused the NPP of making a U-turn on the electronic transmission after the same party had proposed its adoption.
But responding, Mr Manu said, “I don’t see why the NDC can’t see the difference between the two, they are different things. The Electoral Commission has secured handheld scanners or has budgeted for them. If it has been procured, why is there an advert in the newspapers eliciting companies to bid for the procurement of electronic operations to transfer results electronically? I don’t get it,” he told Citi FM
He said the inconsistent messages from the EC highlighted the failure of the election management board.
But responding, Mr Dzakpasu said the initiative was from reform proposals initiated by the political parties themselves and subsequently agreed upon by the Electoral Reform Committee and the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC).