Views: 460, Date:14/Nov/2016


Supreme Court throws out special voting suit


The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision has thrown out the suit on special voting saying it would be prejudicial to make the results known before Election Day.

According to the court, declaring the special votes before the main elections could influence the public in their voting pattern.

The Supreme Court explained that declaring the results of the special voting as plaintiffs had wanted will be unconstitutional.

This is because, Article 49 of the constitution called for the declaration of results at the end of polls which in the wisdom of the court will be closed on Election Day, December 7, reports Graphic Online's Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson.

Special voting

Special voting is a special dispensation under the electoral laws that allows registered voters who will not be able to present themselves at their polling stations on voting day as a result of the roles they will play in the elections to vote on a date before the rest of the electorate vote on the date set for the elections.

The category of people who are allowed to do special voting are security personnel, officials of the EC and journalists.

The suit was initiated by Dr Kwame Amoako Tuffour, a retired lecturer; Benjamin Arthur, an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practitioner, and Adreba Abrefa Damoa, a pensioner. They were challenging the constitutionality of the rules governing the exercise.

They argued that Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) 94, which states that special voting ballot boxes will be sealed to be opened on close of voting on Election Day for counting, was unconstitutional.

They, accordingly, were invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to declare that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 49 of the 1992 Constitution, ‘special voting’, as provided for by Regulation 23 of the Public Elections Regulations, 2016, C.I. 94, was a part of public elections.

They therefore sought a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 49 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992, and Section 13 of the Representation of the People Law, 1992, PNDCL 284, the ballots to be cast pursuant to Regulation 23 (1), (2), (3)(,(4),(5),(6),(7),(8),(9) and (10) of the Public Elections Regulations, 2016, C.I. 94 by special voters in the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections ought to be counted and announced there and then on the date(s) of the special voting by the presiding officers before communicating same to the returning officer. 

The plaintiffs were further seeking an order striking down Regulation 23 (11) of the Public Elections Regulations, 2016, C.I. 94, as being inconsistent with Article 49 (2), (3) (a) and (b) of the Constitution and Section 13 of the Representation of the People Law, 1992, PNDCL 284. 

 
 

Practicality

Counsel for the plaintiffs, Mr Egbert Faibille Jnr, in his submission, stated that the law that made room for special voting was not in accordance with Article 49 of the 1992 Constitution, which states that votes ought to be counted and declared immediately after the polls.

EC’s argument

Counsel for the EC, Mr Poku, in his submission, was of the view that counting the votes and declaring the results on the day that the special voting was conducted would erode confidence in the elections and have a negative impact on the polls.

That, he said, was because those allowed to vote during special voting were EC officials, security personnel, journalists and other identifiable groups who helped in the organisation of the elections.

Source: graphic.com.gh










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