The Electoral Commission (EC) has hinted of plans to review the voting duration downwards ahead of the 2020 elections to improve the security of the polls.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of an ECOWAS-UN Workshop on Tuesday, the EC Chair, Jean Mensah said the decision will help election officials to collate results before dark as compared to previous years.
“The commission will discuss the idea of reducing the duration of the voting from 7 am to 4 pm to allow for the counting and coalition of results well before dark.”
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Currently, polls start at 7 am and end and close at 5 pm. The casting ballots may continue hours after the close of polls depending on the number of persons who were already waiting in the queue.
The EC chair said the commission had observed that a lot of voters wait till the last hour to join the voting queues.
The late resolution of voting and the casting of ballots, which poses “grave danger to the security of ballots and the safety of electoral officers” is a major concern for the commission, Mrs. Mensah stated.
“As a commission, we are not only keen to ensure a peaceful and conducive voting environment but we are keen to guarantee the security of the ballot and make every vote count. In this regard, one of the issues that have occupied our mind is the duration of voting.”
“Ultimately, we believe that this will lead to the early declaration of results and help to reduce the tensions and suspicion that manifest during the waiting period.”
The workshop was on sharing experiences and global practices on the prevention and mitigation of election-related violence.