1) Why to vote?
In a democratic society, such as we have in Ghana, voting during elections, be it at the local or national level is a means of exercising your constitutional right as a citizen.
2) How to vote?
The stated procedures for opening and voting are as follows:
- Prior to opening, the ballot boxes are shown to all present to confirm that they are empty.
- The boxes are then sealed.
- Accredited Party Agents and Observers, as well as media, are allowed to be present.
- Upon arrival at the polling station a prospective voter presents their Voter Card to the Names Reference List Officer, who finds their details on the Names Reference List. This list identifies the page number and location of the voter’s details on the voter register.
- The Names Reference List Officer informs the Biometric Verification Officer of the page number of the voter in the voter register.
- The Biometric Verification Officer scans the bar code on the elector’s Voter Card and compares the details brought up on the Biometric Verification Device (BVD) against the voter card and compares the photo with the voter.
- The voter then places a finger on the BVD for verification purposes. If the first finger is unsuccessful the process is repeated for as many fingers as it takes to get a match.
- If the match is successful then the BVD will flash green and announce “verified” (If there is no match then it flashes red and announces “rejected”. The voter’s details on the main voter register are marked by crossing lines through the bar code entry, indicating they have voted and preventing the bar code being re-used.
- A specified finger of the voter is then marked with indelible ink
- The Presidential ballot is stamped with the official unique stamp of the polling station and handed to the voter.
- The voter proceeds to the booth, marks the ballot to indicate their choice of candidate by virtue of a thumbprint, using an ink pad provided and then places ballot in the box for the presidential elections.
- The voter then collects a ballot for the parliamentary election, which is also stamped with the unique stamp of the polling station.
- The voter goes to a voting booth, marks their choice in the same way, places the ballot in the box and leaves the polling station.
In cases where the BVD could not identify the finger print of a voter, they were informed to wash/clean their fingers and return to try again. Ultimately, if the BVD could not identify the finger print of a person then they would not be allowed to vote.
Persons requiring assistance could be helped by a person of their choice, or failing this by the Presiding Officer (PO). Proxy voting is permitted in Ghana, but a person had to apply for this in advance and for their proxy to be identified and registered at the polling station. There would then be a separate list for designated proxy voters.
Special Voting for registered members of the security services and electoral officials would be taken place early in December 2016 before the actual voting. These votes would be held by the Returning Officer (RO) to be added and tabulated with the main vote aggregation at the tabulation stage.
3) When to vote?
The 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections will be held on December 7.
4) Where to vote?
Currently there are twenty-six thousand, nine hundred and six (26,906) polling stations in the country. The polling stations are the places where voters go to vote on Election Day. Voters are assigned to these polling stations permanently. This has resulted from the principle that “where you register is where you vote” Polling stations are designed to fit into the Units.