In a surprising twist of events, the Electoral Commission, seems to have finally conceded to the definition of over voting presented to the Supreme Court by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, during the Presidential Election Petition but which was strenuously denied by the Electoral Commission led by its boss, Kwadwo Afari Djan and the NDC, which was represented by Asiedu Nketiah with Tsatsu Tsikata as its counsel.
Speaking to the Press on Tuesday, Madam Charlotte Osei, EC boss disclosed that The Electoral Commission has redefined what over-voting should ‘mean’ for the upcoming elections indicating that the total number of registered voters would not be part of the equation for calculating over voting.
The definition of Over voting was one of the most contentious issues during the Presidential Election Petition and ultimately contributed to the decision by the Court to reject the Petition.
While the Petitioners, whose star witness was Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, insisted that over voting occurred when the total number of ballots in the box was more than the total number of ballots cast on the face of the pink sheets or the total number of ballots issued to voters, the NDC and EC insisted that over voting was only when the total number of ballots in the box exceeded the total number of registered voters at the polling station.
NDC General Secretary Asiedu Nketiah during his evidence at the Supreme Court on May 23rd, 2013 stated “My Lord, I’m saying this because we have come to know over-voting to mean an occurrence where the number of votes found in the ballot box exceeds the number of people who are entitled to vote at that polling station; so that clearly is my understanding of over-voting, and I do not have any indication of this happening in any of the 26,002 polling stations which were involved in the 2012”
Responding directly to Dr. Bawumia’s definition, he also said, ““I have heard of it. This is the first time over-voting has been defined that way in my 34 years of observing elections in this country.”
On his part, then EC Boss Afari Djan, on 3rd June, 2013, while in the witness box, seemed to have aligned himself with the NDC position and even called it the classical definition of over voting when he also stated to the court “I think I am not too clear in my own mind what the connotation of over-vote is .My Lord I have a problem with any definition which limits over-voting exclusively to what is on the face of the pink sheet. Classical definition of over voting is where ballots cast exceed the number of voters eligible to vote at the polling stations or on the biometric register.”
The NPP during the Petition presented over 1,700 Pink Sheets to the court which indicated that the number of ballots counted were more than those authorised to vote on the face of the pink sheet and called for an annulment of such Polling Stations, a decision which would have on its own overturned the declaration of John Mahama as President. Based on the definitions given by the EC and the NDC, the court rejected this call and the petition in general.