In recent months, political parties including the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and civil society groups such as the Let My Vote Count Alliance have made the case for urgent electoral reform in the lead up to the November 2016 elections.

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Barrister Mike Igini was, until recently, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Cross River and Edo States respectively. In this interview, he bares his mind on the use of the card  reader  for the 2015 general elections. Excerpts:

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We invited the media today for this news conference because we find it strange and potentialy dangerous that the most reasonable solution that was tabled by the VCRAC Crabbe panel for giving Ghana a credible register for credible elections in 2016 appears to have been totally ignored by the Electoral Commission. We, therefore, want to draw attention to this and ask you, journalists, the Fourth Estate of the Realm, to demand urgent answers from the Electoral Commission on the fate of the wise proposal from the EC’s own panel of experts for the introduction of validation for the voters’ register. Full Publication

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We study election fraud in a competitive but not fully consolidated multiparty democracy. Results from a randomized field experiment are used to investigate the effectiveness of newly-introduced biometric identification machines in reducing election fraud in Ghana’s December 2012 national elections. We uncover a non-random pattern to the frequent breakdowns of the equipment. In polling stations with a randomly assigned domestic election observer, machines were about 50 percent less likely to experience breakdown as they were in polling stations without observers. We also find that electoral competition in the parliamentary race is strongly associated with greater machine breakdown. Machine malfunction in turn facilitated election fraud, including overvoting, registry rigging, and ballot stuffing, especially where election observers were not present. Our results substantiate that partisan competition may promote election fraud in a newly-established competitive democracy. They also show that domestic election observers improve election integrity through direct observation and also thanks to their second-order effects on election administration. Full Publication

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The talk in the United Kingdom now is all about electoral reforms. Even though the Liberal Democrat (Lib-Dem) was the only party that campaigned on a platform of introducing proportional representation (PR), the election results which delivered a hung parliament have been interpreted, remarkably, to mean that the British people want a new electoral system, even though only 23% of voters endorsed the manifesto of the Lib-Dems. Both the Labour Party and Conservative Party campaigned for the status quo but, with no single party winning a parliamentary majority, the lure of power has spoken - compelling both major parties to now see the Lib-Dem call for PR as one of outmost national interest. Call it a convergence of national and partisan interest or partisan interest disguised as national interest.
Ghana gov’t urged to increase credit ratings
A financial analyst and CEO of SEM Capital, Dr. Sam Mensah, has said that Ghana needs to raise its credit ratings as an alternative to facilitate any form of borrowing especially on the capital market. He made the assertion during a roundtable discussion organized by the Danquah Institute and partnered by the World Bank and Citi FM on the three billion Chinese loan facility, which has been contracted by the Ghana government for various development projects.
2010 Census results out April 30 - GSS
The final results of the 2010 Population and Housing Census are expected to be released on Monday, April 30, 2012, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has indicated. Originally, the results were scheduled to be released on March 31, 2012 but some initial field challenges which impacted negatively on the data collection process have necessitated the rescheduling of the date for the release of the results.
Research International Opinion Poll - March 2011
The results showed a 15% discrepancy between the percentage who claimed to have voted and the actual outturn in 2008. This result is not surprising in view of the general tendency among Ghanaians to over-claim. This is a typical therefore one must always tamper claims with a little bit of caution, whether it is in the consumption of products or relationship to things or individuals. Therefore, the near 90% respondents who said they would vote in 2012 must be looked at carefully since the average over the past three elections is no where near 80%. Click here for full details of report
Chaotic polling problems lead to calls for e-voting
Voting electronically could prevent future problems at election polling stations, some experts claim. The US is planning to introduce e-voting and India has already had it in place for some time.
For How Long Shall We Continue this petrol politics?
Alas the recent uncertainty surrounding the pricing of petroleum products appears being resolved. The NDC led government which won the 2008 elections on the back of some populist promises on petroleum pricing has demonstrated some level of boldness. The new government had tied itself by some of its populist campaign messages to the Ghanaian public and voters that petrol could be sold for less than was being sold at the time (Dec. 2008 GHC3.80).It also campaigned that the cost was unbearable for Ghanaians and promised to reduce it drastically when voted into office. But only five months into the new administration, a gallon of petrol is selling for GHC5.00 while a barrel of crude oil is selling for US$68!
BBC World Service Survey
The most talked about global issue in Ghana is unemployment, mentioned three times more frequently by Ghanaians than the global average (49% vs 16%). Corruption is the second most discussed issue (42%, twice as many as the global average) and is also the most serious global problem, rated as veryserious by 77 per cent of respondents. Extreme poverty (65%) and the spread of human diseases (58%) are ranked second and third respectively, and are rated comparably with the global averages (69% and 55%, respectively). Click here for further findings
Is IPAC losing its focus towards electoral transparency?
After the much anticipated need for electoral reforms in Ghana to stem the tide of voter fraud, it is beginning to look like the government has finally buckled to the wishes of common sense that the kind of voters register we have used since 1992 is redundant, retrogressive unwanted and to a large extent archaic. The wish of common sense would have been that we switched to biometric registration followed by e-voting. Somehow the government has agreed to fund the biometric registration but has curiously refused to fund the e-voting. Be that as it may the next step is to give the various political parties a clear road map to the implementation of the biometric registration.
As far as I know, no constitution, in the world, recognizes or even acknowledges the importance of the concession by the losing presidential candidate in a presidential election. Nevertheless, this concession has become a ritual that all the advanced democracies acknowledge and recognize as an important element of their electoral activities. It is that singular action that signifies the successful resolution of the election and avoids the involvement of the judicial branch, in what should properly belong to the political space. Occasionally, however, there is a dispute about the election results and the concession is not forthcoming. In this situation, the optimal solution is to have the courts resolve the dispute prior to inaugurating the President. This is because most countries realize the irreparable harm inherent in inaugurating a President, who may not have been validly elected. Such harm includes, but is not limited to, the cloud that hangs around the Presidency, which might deter international stakeholders from dealing with the President, or dealing with him under significant uncertainty. Domestically, the President’s power to appoint is likely to come into conflict with the legislature’s power to vet as a serious legislature may raise questions about the wisdom in investing vetting resources into appointments that may be short-lived. Local actors may be plunged into a wait-and-see mode and freeze their business plans, in light of the uncertainty about the direction of the country.
Atta Mills' 4
An election year provides a platform for political parties and their leadership to engage the electorate in a conversation about the issues facing the nation and how they intend to govern. Expectedly, the party in power (incumbent) seeks to convince the electorate to stay the course. Typically, the incumbent anchors this argument by touting its achievements, if it has any, or demonstrating to the electorate that it has fulfilled its prior campaign promises. Exceptional incumbents not only showcase their achievements but they also chart a path forward.