Posted by / Tuesday, 13 December 2016 / No comments

The stages of an election in Ghana



THE STAGES OF ELECTIONS
Establishment of an Independent Electoral commission
The establishment of an independent Electoral Commission is one of the first stages of an election. In most countries, especially where democracy is being introduced or re-introduced, the constitution makes provision for the establishment of this commission. Its core mandate is to ensure that elections are periodically held in a free and fair manner. Where this commission already exists, this stage is skipped.

Delimitation of a country into constituencies
Where a country is already delimited into constituencies, this stage is no longer necessary in every election but where it is not, the Independent electoral commission of the country in question creates constituencies from where representatives would be elected to represent the people. In Ghana, after every population census, the Electoral Commission studies the new demographic distribution and uses that to decide whether new constituencies should be created or not.

Registration of political parties
Another stage of an election is to register the political parties that wish to participate in the political process. Where political parties already exists, this stage in no more necessary but where not, then this is carried out. Sometimes new political parties are formed which need to be appropriately registered by the electoral Commission.

Creation of a voters’ register
It is important for the Electoral Commission to register the voters who will exercise their mandate as voters. Where the voters’ register already exists, there is no need for a new one unless there are serious problems associated with. However, those who have attained the voting age of 18 years need to be put on the register so a registration period is created for such people to be added to the register. Apart from that those who for various reasons did not register previously, are allowed to register also.

Exhibition of voters’ register
In order to ensure that that registered voters have their names on the voters’ register, the voters’ register is exhibited so that people can go and check whether their names are in register. Those, whose names are not in the register, draw the attention of the Electoral Commission. Any anomalies detected are quickly rectified before the day of election.

Filling of nomination forms
Candidates who wish to be elected are allowed to file their nominations both as parliamentary and presidential candidates. A nomination window is opened by the Electoral Commission within which every aspiring candidate must file his nomination forms. The Electoral Commission has the powers to disqualify anybody who fails to properly file his nomination.

Procurement of voting materials
All the materials that are going to be needed for the conduct of the election are procured. The ballot boxes, the indelible ink, printing of ballot papers and collation sheets and any others that would be needed on the day of election are procured.

Education of voters
The education of voters takes two dimensions. On the one hand, the Electoral Commission educates the people on when and where voting would take place, and the procedures for voting. It also educates political parties on the procedure of the election and especially the time frame within which election results would be released. The political parties also educate the voters on the issues that are at stake in the elections and why they must for party ‘A’ or party ‘B’.

Distribution of ballot materials
All the materials that would be needed for the D-day are transported into the constituencies so that it would be easy to distribute in time for the voting to begin on time on the day of voting. Sometimes, depending on the signals on the grounds, the Electoral Commission may create buffers close by so that if there is any shortage, the shortage can be quickly dealt with.

Day of voting
On the voting day, all polling stations become active and all qualified voters go to their polling stations to vote for their preferred candidate. After the close of the polls, the ballots are counted and the results for each polling station declared right there and then.

Collation of results
After all the ballots have been counted at the various polling stations, the results are collated at the constituency collation centre and transmitted to a regional collation centre. In the case of parliamentary candidates, the final results for the constituencies are declared. In the case of the presidential election, the Electoral Commissioner is the returning officer and the only person mandated to declare the results. So there is a national collation centre where all the results for the entire country are collated and the final results declared.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. Trace the stages through which an election passes before the results are declared.

2. How are elections organized in your country? 

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