The key challenges the Electoral Commission faced in conducting the elections were:
The time for sensitization of communities and other key stakeholders on the newly created Electoral Areas/Unit Committees as well as the time for the issuance and receipt of Nomination Forms was too short. It was revealed that the period between the time of releasing of L.I. 1983 and the Filing of Nomination was too short and could not allow for effective interaction with the public, especially the prospective candidates of the respective newly created Electoral Areas/Unit Committees. Another challenge was the time between the receipt of the Ballot Papers and the Conduct of the Elections. As a result, intensed pressure characterized the cross-checking, distribution, packaging of the ballot papers.
Problem With Ballot Papers
The Committee noted that suppliers were unable to deliver ballot papers as scheduled. There was the detection of swapped photographs as well as blurred pictures on ballots. There were also incidence of under and over supply of ballots in some areas. In some places, Ballots for only one election - District Assembly or Unit Committees were ready as at 28th December, 2010.
Creating awareness about the newly created Electoral Areas/Unit Committees did not take place to guide the voting public due to the short notice on information on demarcations. Also, fuel to be used for publicity was not enough to cover the different dates at different polling stations.
Postponement Of Election Date
The postponement of the election date created anxiety among aspiring District Assembly and Unit Committee Candidates, who most of the time, were not prepared to cooperate with the Commission at District and Electoral levels. Again, the postponement of election date and the conduct of election on different dates at different Polling Stations affected the quantum of funds and other resources allocated for public education. Public education information had to be changed to suit different communities as to when voting was taking place.
Most District Electoral Officers found it difficult to communicate the new dates of election to electorates in areas which could not vote. There were
instances where the election date had been postponed but District Electoral Officers themselves did not know the new dates.
Recruiting election officials for the 2010 District level elections coincided with the recruitment of West African Examinations Council (WAEC) markers. It was revealed that the remuneration of WAEC was higher than what the Commission was paying, hence most of the hardworking election officials opted for WAEC’s job.
Regional Directors, Deputy Regional Directors, District Electoral Officers and their drivers had to risk travelling in the night from their respective posts to Accra and back and from districts to the regional capitals in order to ensure that election materials got to the polling stations.
It came to light that the Commission lacks offices and residential accommodation in most of the Districts. As a result, the Commission looses vital materials and also puts the lives of officers at risk. Their continuous stay in private individual homes and the use of rented Houses as offices is likely to compromise their independence.
It is a common practice by the Commission to commandeer vehicles for such special assignments. The Commission wasted so much fuel on vehicles allocated for that purpose due to the postponement of the elections. It was difficult to lay hands on the said vehicles due to the long holidays that came in-between. Districts Electoral Officers had to rely on Non-Governmental Organizations and individuals who were reluctant to give out their vehicles. Most institutions release vehicles which were rickety and expected the Commission to repair them for use on election day. They refused to fuel the vehicles for onward refill by the Commission after use.
Splitting/Creation of More Polling Stations
The Committee noted with concern that most polling stations had over thousand voters as a result some voters did not get the chance to vote within the voting hours. Time for voting in any Elections in Ghana has been fixed for 7.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. However, due to large numbers of voters in some polling stations in the country, counting of these votes after the close of polls sometimes ran deep into the night thus causing tension and anxiety.
Abuse of Transfer
It was observed that there was lack of information and education on how to transfer votes either on temporary or permanent basis. The mode of transfer was seen to be problematic. There was incidence of serious abuse of transfer of voters through busing of voters from one electoral area to another where the voters were not known to effect certain results.
Lack of Political Neutrality
Some political party executives and traditional rulers prevented prospective candidates from contesting the elections. They had selected their preferred candidates. Political parties fielded in and sponsored some candidates and there were partisan campaigns by some political parties and political authorities. This therefore made the District Level Elections political. In view of this, political neutrality of the election was not achieved.
Marginalization of Women
It came out that some women who intended to contest were marginalized. Their husbands asked them to withdraw their candidature. Some were also threatened with loss of jobs.
Provision of security for elections in the country is the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior through the Inspector-General of Police (I.G.P) and other security heads. However it came to light that personnel posted for election duties either report late to their polling stations or are absent. The number of personnel posted is sometimes very inadequate, thus compelling some officers to man more than one polling station at a time, making way for some voters to sometimes misbehave.
Payment of Allowance to security officers on election duties was found to be erratic. It was revealed to the Committee that the budget that the Police presented for payment of ration to personnel and other expenditure was slashed down to half. The Interior Ministry indicated that it had to take the personal intervention of the Vice President, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, the Minister of Interior and the National Security Coordinator before funds were released for the exercise.
Lack of vehicles to transport security personnel to the various polling stations and the need for office equipment to monitor the elections nationwide from the Joint National Task Force Secretariat was identified as a major challenge of the Security Services. Despite the above challenges, the Security Services were able to live up to expectation in the conduct of the 2010 District Level Elections.
Conditions of Service
It was revealed that the conditions of service of staff of the Commission was very poor and nothing to write home about. The staff worked under severe stress. Moreover, the Commission has permanent office accommodation in only fifteen (15) Districts throughout the country as such District Electoral Officers operated and resided in rented accommodation which could easily compromise their independence, lower their morale and the zeal to work.
Boycott of Elections
In Tumentu Electoral Area in the Nzema East District, citizens boycotted the elections in protest of bad roads and lack of economic development activities in the area. Also in the Biakoye District in the Volta region, ten (10) electoral areas refused to vote because the district capital has been sited at Nkonya. Some parts of Adidome District boycotted the elections due to problems with the location of District Capital and boundary demarcation.
In Mepe in the North Tongu District the citizens refused to vote because they felt cheated when the new electoral areas were created. They felt their traditional setup was bigger than others which were considered. Elections did not take place in the Lower Manya District in the Eastern Region. The Chiefs and people boycotted the election in protest of the transfer of six (6) electoral areas from their District to Dangme West in the Greater-Accra Region.
A restraining Order issued by the Court on the Electoral Commission prevented the Commission from going ahead with the conduct of elections in these six (6) electoral areas. Similarly, four (4) electoral areas in Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal District could not vote due to a dispute between peoples of Teshie and Nungua. Chiefs and people of Akurugu Daboo Electoral Area in the Kassena Nankana District in the Upper East Region boycotted the elections because they wanted to retain the old name of Atosale/Azaase.
The 2010 District Level Elections witnessed some violence in some polling stations; at Aputuogya and Kaase in the Ashanti Region, Arugu in the Talensi-Nabdam District in the Upper East Region. There are currently a number of court cases on election disputes in two (2) polling stations in Nyinahin-Abodowin Electoral Area in the Atwima Mponua District and the Hausa line Electoral Area in the Techiman Municipality. The Electoral Commission proposes to re-run an election in one Electoral Area in the Eastern Region as a result of vandalism that disrupted voting. There was snatching of ballot box containing ballot papers in the Awutu Senya District.
Release of Funds
It was revealed that sometimes when the Electoral Commission puts in a request for the release of funds for its programmes and activities, it took three (3) months or over for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to release such monies to the Commission. For instance, during the just ended 2010 District Level Elections, the Commission requested for the release of funds on 25t" November, 2010 for the printing of ballot papers but received the money on 21st December, 2010, hence the delay in printing.
Even though the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning was not happy that it sometimes delayed in the release of funds to the Electoral Commission the Minister explained that Electoral Commission did not submit its cash plan requirements well in advance for the necessary budgeting to be effected by Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP).
Biometric Registration and Verification
The Committee was informed that an amount of Eighty Million Ghana Cedis (GH¢80,000,000) has been set aside for the Biometric Registration and Verification exercise for the 2012 Elections.