Across the country on December 1, some 109,557 Ghanaians were expected to cast their votes as part of the “Special Voting” exercise being conducted by the Electoral Commission (EC) for the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
At a press conference on November 30, the Chairperson of the EC-Jean Mensa confirmed the number of persons expected to participate in the “Special Voting” exercise [starting from minutes 28:00 and 30:00].
The “Special Voting” included security personnel, journalists, and officers of the EC, all of whom fall under the groups of persons who will be working on Election Day (December 7).
Here is everything you need to know about the “Special Voting” exercise.
- “Special Voting” is an opportunity given to certain registered voters to cast their ballots on a date earlier than the advertised national voting day because such persons will be considered too occupied on the day ensuring the smooth running of the elections.
- Only security officials, accredited media personnel and staff of the Electoral Management Body (EMB) can enjoy “Special Voting” in Ghana.
- In every election year, it is required of such qualified individuals to submit an application to the EC showing proof that they will be engaged in election duties, so they cannot exercise their franchise on the set date to cast their ballots.
- Special voters can only vote in the constituency in which they will be working on the main Election Day.
- Polling stations are provided by the EC and the elections are conducted in the same manner as the main elections.
- Every constituency can only conduct “Special Voting” at one polling station – this allows for centralization of voters and protection of the ballots.
- If a person who applied and was certified for “Special Voting” is unable to vote on the date it is conducted, he or she will forfeit that right to exercise their franchise in that year’s elections.
- However, the ballots cast are not immediately counted after the “Special Voting” process. The ballots are collated, kept under security in a police station and are only counted as part of the results for the general elections.
- Also, “Special Voting” only happens during general election years. District Level Elections do not merit “Special Voting” because, as the EC explains, sighting financial constraints and smaller numbers of election officials and security personnel among others.
- This year’s “Special Voting” is the seventh time in the fourth republic the EC has conducted the exercise. The “Special Voting” exercise first started in1996.
By Efo Korku Mawutor