Jean Mensa And Mahama

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) has extended an invitation to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to return to meetings of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC). The NDC, after the 2020 general elections, boycotted all IPAC meetings.

The EC Chairperson, therefore, invited the NDC to return to the IPAC at a stakeholders’ meeting on inter-party dialogue organized by the National Peace Council (NPC) at Peduase in the Eastern Region on Thursday.

“I would like to use this opportunity to invite the leadership of the National Democratic Congress to our IPAC meetings. We do realize that since 2021, the NDC has not been present at our IPAC meetings.” “We miss them, we miss their fire. I extend an olive branch and in the interest of the peace of our country. We invite them to IPAC,” she stated.

Meanwhile, the EC Chairperson has justified the decision to shift the closing time of voting from 5:00 pm to 3:00 pm during the upcoming 2024 general elections. She emphasized that this adjustment aims to facilitate the transparent and orderly collation of votes by electoral officers in broad daylight.

Mrs. Mensa highlighted that the proposal was grounded in the lessons learned from the 2020 elections, where approximately 70 percent of voting centers witnessed minimal activity by 1:00 pm. She stressed that this adjustment aims to diminish the long queues that have historically characterized elections, streamlining the voting process for citizens.

“In 2020, 70 percent of our polling centers 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, hassle-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 centers was reduced to 500 voters per voting center. 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.

By: Abigail Arthur

 

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