The Electoral Commission (EC) has explained why it has decided to change the closing time of voting from 5:00 pm to 3:00 pm during the upcoming 2024 general elections.
The chairperson of the electoral body, Mrs. Jean Mensa, stated that the change will help facilitate the transparent and orderly collation of votes by electoral officers in broad daylight.
She said this while addressing participants at an inter-party dialogue and stock-taking conference organised by the National Peace Council in Accra on Thursday, December 14, 2024.
According to her, the proposal is grounded in the lessons learned from the 2020 elections, where approximately 70 percent of voting centres witnessed minimal activity by 1:00 pm.
“In 2020, 70 percent of our polling centres had a voter threshold of 500 and below. This time we intend to ensure that all our polling station centers have a threshold of 500 voters and below. In the same vein, we will increase the number of our polling stations nationwide.
“We believe that this will go a long way to reduce the long queues that characterize our elections and allow for a smooth, seamless, hustle-free voting process. In 2020, it took voters not more than five minutes to cast their votes due to the introduction of this policy. Based on our 2020 experience and also feedback from several observer groups we propose to close the polls at 3:00 pm.
“Our experience in 2020 reveals that by 1:00 pm, 70 percent of our polling stations were empty of voters as most voters had cast their votes. This made it possible because the threshold of most polling centres was reduced to 500 voters per voting centre.
“This was coupled with the robust verification devices that were deployed to the polling stations. We are convinced that by closing the polls at 3:00 pm, we will be able to count and collate in broad daylight and this will promote the needed transparency and orderliness that we so desire,” Mrs. Mensa said.