he Judicial Board of the University of Ghana SRC has ordered for a re-election at the Volta hall polling station and revert the annulled results at Jean Nelson Aka hall.
This ruling is in relation to a case brought before it by Bridget Frimpongmaa Asare and Charles Gyamfi, who are residents from the Volta hall and the Jean Nelson Aka hall respectively, challenging the decision of the Electoral Commission to annul the results at their respective halls without a chance to revote.
According to the plaintiffs, the EC had pursuant to Rule 10(11) of the Constitutional Instrument which declared that “in such a case that where allegations of over voting are raised, the Electoral Commissioner will thoroughly peruse the votes to ascertain the authenticity of the allegation and if indeed there is over voting, nullify the results did nullify the results of the Volta and Jean Nelson over an ascertained over voting”, they contend that the action by the Electoral Commission was an infringement of their right to vote.
The plaintiffs alleged that in Jean Nelson Aka hall, the total number of verified votes cast was 819 and total votes was 824 with an extra 5 ballot papers while in the Volta hall, it was revealed that 357 voters verified however the total ballot papers in the ballot box after counting was 361 leaving 4 of the ballot papers unaccounted for.
The counsel for the plaintiff in their submissions defended why there was over voting and the need for a re-election to held at the affected polling stations while the defendants been represented by the Legal advisor of the SRC John Kpesese and Daniel Ohene Bekoe, Counsel for Amoako Sylvester Quarshie, who joined the case as an interested and affected party argued on why the unaccounted ballot do not necessarily amount to over voting.
In the ruling of the judicial board, it clarified what over voting meant and what it takes for an over voting to result in a re-election.
In the ruling read by the Chief Justice of the Judicial board, Her ladyship Vecentia Quagrine defined over voting as “the situation where the total valid ballot papers found in the ballot box exceeds the total number of verified votes and for the avoidance of doubt, a valid ballot paper is a duly issued ballot paper with the appropriate security features which is stamped by the electoral officials.”
According to the ruling, the evidence before the board proved that the total valid votes cast was 819 and total votes including rejected votes was 824. The rejected votes were 33 inclusive of the unstamped ballot papers.
Thus the issue was whether the 5 unstamped ballot papers establish a case of over voting. The Board disagreed with the assertion that the 5 unstamped ballot papers established a case of over voting. The board was of the view that foreign materials may be detected in the ballot box but this does not necessarily give rise to a case of over voting.
The board argued that if a voter, in addition to inserting his ballot paper, attaches a graphic or his own printed ballot paper without the appropriate security features, it cannot ground a case of over voting.
However, in the case of Volta Hall, unlike Jean Nelson Aka Hall, the Board was convinced that the evidence adduced leads to an irresistible conclusion that indeed there was over voting.
In the context of the board’s definition of over voting, the total valid ballot papers issued by the officials exceeded the number of verified persons. Thus the annulment by the EC was upheld.
The board therefore ruled that the results of Jean Nelson must be added to the provisional results declared by the EC.
This will mean that, the total votes in favor of Clement Bofa-Oppon and Kwaku Afful Appial will change from 3,408 to 3,745 with that of Sylvester Amoako and Adom Anorkwah rising from 3,656 to 4,110.
The board, in its ruling ordered a re-election at Volta hall and the votes involved can indeed impact the outcome of the election with regards to the next SRC President of the University of Ghana.
The difference between the candidates as at now is 365 votes and the number of registered voters in Volta hall exceeds the difference.
What this means is, there is no President and Vice-President elect for the University of Ghana SRC until the re-election at Volta hall is held.
In an interview with the Electoral Commissioner, Kwaku Quansah hinted that he is yet to confer with the Dean of Students Affairs for an appropriate date to be set for the election.
Credit: Hanson Agyemang