The much anticipated presidential primary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has come and gone, but not the spoilt ballots that has become a common feature in our election.
The process last Saturday was peaceful, free and fair, but one thing which nearly marred the whole exercise was the number of spoilt ballots.
The number of ballots rejected in the poll was 1, 327. This is more than the number of votes obtained by Sylvester Mensah, who managed only 932 votes, representing 0.415percent with Nurudeen Iddrisu securing 513 votes, representing 0.231.
The delegates who took part in the overwhelming endorsement of President John Dramani Mahama, were not ordinary members of the party, these are executives from the Ward, Branch, Constituency, Regional and National level.
As the 2020 general election approaches, these executives, who did not who to vote for or how to vote, are expected to go out and educate their constituents and Ghanaians on how to vote.
According to Dr. Rasnford Gyampo, who is a senior lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, and also doubles as a research fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the number of spoilt ballots clearly affects the democratic choice of who becomes president or Member of Parliament (MP).
Dr. Gyampo said, in 1992, rejected ballots accounted for 3.6percent of valid votes cast and reduced to 1.5percent in 1996, but in the first round of the 2000 general election, it accounted for 1.8percent of the valid votes counts and reduced to 1.58percent during the presidential run-off.
He continued that, the figures soared in 2004 and constituted 2.2percent of the votes cast, while in 2008, they took 2.4percent of the valid votes cast.
In the 2012 general election, 251,720 rejected votes (2.3 per cent), were higher than the total votes secured by all the other presidential candidates, excluding those of the NDC and the NPP.
We are of the considered view that, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), must intensify voter education, as the country prepares for the 2020 general elections.
If rejected ballots were a political party, they could boast of a steady increase in popularity ahead of the smaller parties since the country’s return to multiparty democracy in 1992.