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.
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:
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
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