Don’t award printing of ballots contract to same company that printed for our national executive race-6 NDC Prez aspirants to party


Six out of the seven contestants contesting for the position as presidential candidate in the upcoming National Democratic Congress presidential primaries have petitioned the party over concerns surrounding the award of contract for the printing of ballots for the exercise.

According to the petitioners, the decision by the party to award the contract to the same company that printed ballots for the November national executive elections is not the best.

They said the November polls were faced some irregularities with regards to the ballots printed.

“We are also deeply concerned about the apparent decision to award the contract for printing of the ballots to the same company that printed ballots for the November NEC elections. As you are no doubt aware several contestants and observers of those elections have described significant irregularities with the ballot papers (amongst other irregularities). These include incorrect rendering of aspirants’ names, mismatching of pictures and names and presence of duplicate ballot papers (i.e. with the same supposedly “unique” serial number). All of these irregularities have been cited in a discourse that calls the legitimacy of the outcome of some of the NEC elections in question.”

The petitioners, Professor Joshua Alabi, Sylvester Mensah, Nurudeen Ali, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Goosie Tanoh and Alban Bagbin also raised a number of issues aside the printing of the ballots.

Below is the full petition from the six aspirants:

23 January 2019

National Election Committee

NDC HQ

Adama Street,

Adabraka, Accra.

Attention: Hon Kofi Attoh

Chairman

Dear Comrade,

National Election Guidelines

We refer to our discussions last Sunday at Party HQ. We made considerable progress towards “free and fair” Guidelines for the Presidential primaries – to the point that we agreed to proceed with vetting and balloting while we await the text of the new Guidelines.

We had hoped by now to receive an update regarding your proposed discussions with the Council of Elders and the current state of the process.

While we wait, we wish to revisit two issues that we discussed on Sunday – the character of the electoral roll and the selection of a company to print ballot papers.

Primaries Electoral College Voters’ Roll

We are deeply concerned that the Voters’ register provided to Aspirants yesterday consists simply of a list of names without photographs, Voter ID card numbers or even Party membership card numbers. There is also considerable inconsistency in the formatting. Our concern obviously is that this approach creates opportunities for voter impersonation and unnecessary confusion on Polling Day.

The use of a voters’ roll with pictures has been standard electoral practice in Ghana since 2000 – enabling polling officers to verify prospective voters’ identities at the Polling station and substantially reduce the risk of impersonation. We know that the Party would not agree to participate in a national election using a voters’ roll that does not provide pictures or ID numbers. It is our view that the provision of an EC standard Roll falls squarely within the requirements for “free and fair” as provided for in the Judicial Settlement agreed last Thursday in Ali v NDC.

We know further that the Party’s re-registration exercise (designed precisely to enable the Party to identify its members accurately for purposes such as elections) captured members’ Voter ID card numbers. We know that the raw data exists at constituency level (where it was used for CEC elections). It should not be too difficult to update the Voters’ Roll and provide Voter ID card numbers. We have checked informally with the EC and can confirm that if the Party provides this information the EC can print off a Primaries Electoral College Roll that includes pictures and Voter ID numbers within a matter of days.

We acknowledge that in a few cases (principally TEIN members) registrants had not reached voting age at the time of the last national voters’ registration exercise and thus did not have Voter ID cards to use in the Party re-registration exercise last year. We appreciate that special arrangements will need to be made to avoid disenfranchising these members and we are willing to be flexible to achieve this.

Ballot Printing

We are also deeply concerned about the apparent decision to award the contract for printing of the ballots to the same company that printed ballots for the November NEC elections. As you are no doubt aware several contestants and observers of those elections have described significant irregularities with the ballot papers (amongst other irregularities). These include incorrect rendering of aspirants’ names, mismatching of pictures and names and presence of duplicate ballot papers (i.e. with the same supposedly “unique” serial number). All of these irregularities have been cited in a discourse that calls the legitimacy of the outcome of some of the NEC elections in question.

Again, in the context of the history cited above we believe that this choice would violate the spirit and indeed the letter of the “free and fair” commitment set out in the Settlement Agreement.

In our meeting last Sunday, we noted that the EC has accredited a number of printing houses for this kind of work including Assembly Press which is a state-owned facility. We would prefer to work with one of these printing houses. This is also in line with the commitment made that after the balloting for positions on the Ballot Sheet the process would be managed by the EC.

We would also like a briefing on polling day logistics and especially transportation and feeding with your committee at your earliest and hopefully within the next week.

Our teams are immediately available to meet with FEC or the Electoral Committee to discuss these matters and achieve acceptable solutions that prevent further disruption to the proposed election schedule.

Sincerely

___________________

Alban SK Bagbin

___________________

Nurudeen Ali

___________________

Sylvester Mensah

___________________

Ekwow Spio-Garbrah

___________________

Goosie Tanoh

___________________

Joshua Alabi

Cc:

Hon. Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah

General Secretary

HE Flt Jerry John Rawlings

Chairman, National Council of Elders

Hon. Samuel Ofusu-Ampofo

Chairman and Leader

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