Federation of Labour kicks against proposed 3pm closure of polls; describes EC’s move risky

The Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) has kicked against the proposal made by the Electoral Commission</a> to close polls at 3pm instead of 5pm.

According to the Labour union, stakes in the 2024 general elections are very high with dire security consequences should the Electoral body, which is tainted with suspicion take any risk that could backfire.

In a press release issued over the weekend, GFL said the proposal has the potential of disenfranchising many new voters on the election day.

GFL also rejected claims by the Electoral Commission that records show 70% of its polling stations were empty by 1pm during the 2020 elections as a result of robust verification devices and this will prevent manipulations and rigging.

“GFL strongly kicks against this dangerous experiment in the upcoming election, many agree is crucial because stakes are high and tied to the peace and security of our beloved country. A presidential winner in Ghana must obtain not less than 50%+ of the total valid votes, means every vote counts,” the release read in parts.

It added that, “But when a system is created for potential confusion on an election day, whereby potential electorates mostly first time voters may have to struggle to find their polling stations, this plan to close at 3pm could potentially disenfranchise thousands.”

The Ghana Federation of Labour made some recommendations the EC can adopt to run a smooth 2024 elections.

Find recommendations below

1. An immediate round table consultations with critical stakeholders including Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), Governance think tanks, CSOs to scrutinize EC’s assessment with reference to realities in difficult to reach communities.
2. Subject EC’s recent data capturing measures to scrutiny especially the potential chaos over location of polling stations by those recently captured.
3. Outstanding registration exercise and clarion calls to expand Centers for easy identification of polling stations /voting centers.
4. The application of INDELIBLE INK to check multiple voting must continue until sole reliance on VERIFICATION DEVICES is proven to be effective and the process acceptable to stakeholders.
5. Abandon plan to use the upcoming District elections for another level of piloting because of the potential very low turnout which will NOT reflect realities expected during general elections as in the case of 2024 in which stakes are very high.
6. Critically consider vote patterns in difficult to reach areas where declaration of results always delay – (cases of late start or queues after 5pm and guarantees to address causes to ensure potential votes from such areas are not lost out.
7. Revert to Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) structures and Conventions with guarantees to build confidence to enhance buy-ins into reforms.

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