Voting takes off at all centres

Voting started throughout Ghana at 0700 hours, Friday, to elect a President and 275 Legislators for the sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic with long queues of voters waiting patiently to cast their votes.

Polling officially ends at 1700 hours. All voters in queues before 1700 hours would be allowed to vote. The security details at the polling centres are expected to join the end of the queues when it is time to ensure that nobody else joins in after the close of the polls.

Counting would start at the polling centres after the last voter has cast his or her vote. The first results are expected late on Saturday night or early Sunday morning. The Electoral Commission expects all results to be declared within 72 hours.

Early Voters at some polling stations said they started forming queues as early as 0200 hours when GNA visited.

At the Musuku Presby Church Polling Station in the Dome Kwabenya Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, a voter, Mr Kojo Bempa together with his wife told GNA they wanted to be the first to cast their vote and so they went to the centre at 0350 hours.

Mr Bempa said after casting the vote he was going to attend to other duties before coming back to listen to the results later in the day.

GNA observed that there were no hitches as voters went through the various process to go through the biometric register and check their names for voting.

Though the queues was huge, prospective voters told the GNA they were not perturbed because voting was a right as well as a national duty which they needed to perform.

For instance Kwadwo Asare, a 24 year old first voter was very happy that he was taking part in the exercise.

“As a student living outside my constituency, I never had the opportunity to vote in the previous elections though I was qualified to do so, I am therefore happy to be part of the exercise this time.

Madam Esi Abokuma, who is 75 years was not left out of the exercise, and because of her age, she was giving a seat to rest for sometime before voting instead of joining the queue and she was grateful for that.

It is good that officer have recognised my age and given me the due respect. I had always dreaded the fact that I was going to join the queue, but I am happy and grateful that I have escaped the ordeal.

Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), on Wednesday told journalists the voting procedures remained the same.

“The voting pattern is transparent and at each point of the voting process there is an identifiable glaring system, which would make it impossible for anyone to cheat.

“The result of any polling station where the number of votes cast would exceed the number of registered voters and those who have lawfully transferred their votes would be cancelled.”

Dr Afari-Gyan urged Ghanaians, especially political party representatives, to avoid making wild allegations about imagined electoral fraud and suspicions and said the entire process would take place in the open view of the public.

The EC Chairman said Presiding Officers in-charge of polling stations would inspect the ballot papers in the presence of the agents; enter the total number in a booklet; show the ballot boxes to the public to ascertain that they were empty and then place them in the open for voting.

Dr Afari-Gyan said accredited local and international observers, journalists, national and regional executive members of contesting political parties, security personnel, contesting candidates and spouses and monitors were permitted to visit the polling stations.

He advised all accredited officials to wear their prescribed identification tags – exhibiting their photograph, name, organisation and mandate.

Dr Afari-Gyan reiterated that accredited EC officials were responsible for the conduct of the elections and were not subject to the dictates of anybody. They should, therefore, be allowed to work without unnecessary interference from any quarters. GNA

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