The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has accused the Electoral Commission (EC) of printing pink sheets without serial numbers and described that act as illegal.
According to the party, they were informed by Aero Vote, the company contracted to print the pink sheets that there would not be any embossment of serial numbers on the pink sheets contrary to what they had been told by the EC Chair Charlotte Osei at an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting.
The concern raised by the NPP adds to the litany of concerns raised by the party in the lead-up to the presidential and parliamentary elections in December.
The party had earlier detected an error on the parliamentary ballot papers distributed by the EC to the Ashanti Region, saying the ballot papers do not bear the initials of the NPP as had been done for all other competing political parties.
The party in a statement has called on the EC to correct the anomaly.
Below is the full statement:
We wish to share with the general public, in the interest of transparency, a very disturbing turn of events regarding the printing of the Statement of Poll and the Declaration of Results forms, Form Eight, commonly referred to as Pink Sheets.
Today, Aero Vote, the company which won the $8.95 million contract to print the Statement of Poll and Declaration of Results Forms (Form Eight), and other results-related carbonized election forms started the printing of the said forms.
We went there today to inspect the work and were surprised to be told by Aero Vote that they have been told not to emboss serial numbers on the pink sheets.
The contract for the printing of Pink Sheets makes provisions for the printing of 3,000 extra forms. The idea is for each constituency to have 10 extra forms. Those 3,000, will naturally not have the Polling Station Name and Polling Station Code on them. Without serial numbers on them as well, we think this leaves them open to manipulation.
The Public Elections Regulations, 2016 (CI 94) in the Schedules part at pages 48 and 49 has a sample of the exact format that the law says Form Eight, or the Pink Sheet for both parliamentary and presidential results should take. Material to the issue today is that at the top left hand of Form Eight is space for the unique serial number for each form to be inserted.
The Electoral Reforms Committee Report recommended that Serial Numbers must be embossed and be unique to each polling station. This has been stated in the law governing the 2016 general elections, CI 94.
Since then, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission has said publicly that Pink Sheets will have serial numbers. We are, therefore, surprised to be told at the final hour of printing by those contracted to print that they have been instructed by the same Commission not to bother putting serial numbers on the Pink Sheets.
This is not acceptable. It affects the integrity of the base document for the declaration of results.
We have written to the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission requesting for an emergency meeting of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee to discuss this issue and other matters, including seeking complete clarity on what happens in the event of over- voting.
Ghanaians recall how Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, the then Chairman of the Electoral Commission, could not explain to the Supreme Court at the election petition trial of 2013 why the Commission in 2012 instructed the printer to produce another set of at least 26,002 Pink Sheets, duplicating serial numbers.
The company which did the printing of Pink Sheets in 2012, through a sub contract from a Ghanaian company, was this same Aero Vote, then a UK security printing firm, before it went into liquidation and closed down in 2013.
Aero Vote has since moved to Ghana, winning the contract for this year’s forms on its own steam as a Ghanaian company. Details of the printing work includes the printing of 29,000 Forms Eight EL 21 A and EL 22A for the parliamentary results pink sheets and their 3,000 replacements (in case of damage or errors); 29,000 Forms EL 21B and EL 22B for the presidential results, plus 3,000 replacements; 275 collation sheets each and 30 replacements each for the parliamentary (EL 23A) and presidential (EL 23B) polls, respectively and; 275 Constituency Results Summary Sheets plus 30 replacements each for parliamentary (EL 24A) and presidential (EL 24B) results, respectively. All will come with carbonized copies for candidates or their agents.
We want to throw light on this matter of omitting serial numbers on the Pink Sheets quickly so that the Commission can take immediate steps to correct this serious anomaly for the forms being printed to conform to the law, CI 94.
Time is not on our side. The election is three weeks away. We do not need another court case. Let us do what is right now to protect the national quest for credible and peaceful elections.