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Ghana's Voters Renew Commitment to Open and Competitive Elections

Contact: Deborah Hakes, in Accra: - +233 (0)24 019 6053

Election Observation Mission Preliminary Statement

Executive Summary

The Carter Center congratulates the Ghanaian people for their democratic participation in the Dec. 7 presidential and parliamentary elections, which were conducted in a peaceful, transparent, and dignified manner.

Ghana is becoming a model democracy in the region and abroad.  The Electoral Commission of Ghana continues to enjoy international recognition for its exemplary conduct.

In advance of the 2008 elections, concerns were raised about the possibility of political tensions and more recently about a 'bloated' voter registry.  The electoral commission, aided by the involvement of civil society and religious leaders, took action to address these issues, neither of which has emerged as a problem on election day.

We commend the efforts of Ghana's political parties, civil society, religious leaders, and others who actively promoted the peaceful contestation of power as a prerequisite for Ghana's continued democratic development.

During the course of the elections, the Center noted the role of the police and security forces. We found their demeanor to be, with very few exceptions, courteous, constructive, and restrained in ensuring the establishment of a calm environment in which citizens could vote safely and efficiently.

The Center is pleased with efforts by the Ghanaian Supreme Court to address deficiencies in the electoral dispute process by dedicating judges to expedite legal challenges.  We encourage all stakeholders to use post-election dispute resolution measures to ensure that all electoral challenges are resolved peacefully and in accordance with the Ghanaian constitution.

Carter Center observers continue to assess the conclusion of counting and vote tabulation and will remain in Ghana to observe the post-election environment.  This is a preliminary statement and a final report will be published in the coming months.

The Carter Center fully expects that as the final vote is tabulated, any challenges to the results will be handled peacefully through existing and constitutionally sanctioned procedures in an open and transparent manner.  The competitiveness of the process is already apparent in the large number of parliamentary seats that have changed hands.  We commend both the honest election and gracious defeat of contesting candidates, as well as the rights of all Ghanaian citizens to participate freely in the political process.

The following report identifies a number of strengths and shortcomings identified by the Center's long- and short-term observers and makes recommendations for further improvement in the administration and conduct of elections in Ghana.

We remain confident that Ghanaians have once again demonstrated their commitment to a democratic future through continual improvements in their electoral administration and the conduct of a transparent, peaceful process.  We hope these experiences will inform preparations for the 2012 elections.

The Carter Center has been observing the electoral process in Ghana since May 2008.  Eight long-term observers from seven countries were deployed throughout the country in July to assess voter registration.  Ten Long-term observers returned in September and October to assess the voter-register exhibition period.  For the December 7 elections, The Center deployed a 57-person observer team led by Ketumile Masire, former President of Botswana, Justice Joseph Warioba, former prime minister of Tanzania, and John Stremlau, vice president of peace programs at The Carter Center.  Carter Center observers visited more than 300 polling stations in 30 districts to observe voting and counting.

Carter Center observation missions are conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation.

Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions

Political Background

The 2008 elections, Ghana's fifth since multiparty democracy was restored in 1992, were widely seen as an opportunity to further advance democratic consolidation. Expectations for the elections have been extremely high, both inside and outside of Ghana.  The country has served as an anchor in the West African region, which has often been marred by areas of instability and civil war.  For this reason, a successful election is critically important to both Ghana and the region as a whole.

This election cycle was highly competitive, as there was no incumbent and no clear frontrunner.  Professor John Evans Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress, who had previously run against and lost to John Kufuor in 2000 and 2004, ran against former Foreign Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party.  Six smaller party candidates also contested the presidency, including Papa Kwesi Ndoum of the Convention People's Party and Edward Mahama of the People's National Convention.  Election returns show Professor Mills and Nana Akufo-Addo in a very tight race with the possibility of a run-off election if neither candidate crosses the fifty percent threshold.

Legal Framework

Elections provide a key to understanding whether those in power respect citizens' rights to participate in public affairs.  Elections are not just a technical exercise; they are a critical political process and are a prerequisite for achieving democratic governance.

The Ghanaian Constitution enshrines key international obligations including political rights such as the rights to free association with a political party, to vote by secret ballot, to participate in public affairs, and to hold elected office[1].

In addition the Constitution establishes additional human rights which must necessarily be respected if an electoral process is to be a clear reflection of the will of the people.  These include the freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of movement[2].  These constitutionally protected political rights are reflected in the 1996 Ghanaian Public Elections Regulations, the 1995 Registration Regulations and the 2000 Political Parties Law, among others.  These election regulations are generally in line with international obligations and provide a strong foundation for democratic elections.

Ghana has ratified several international treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the International Convention on the Elimination of Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Political Rights of Women, the Convention on People with Disabilities and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.  In addition, Ghana has ratified a number of important regional treaties including the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, and the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.  Ghana is also is a signatory to the  Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance and The Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.

It is against these commitments, reflected in the Ghanaian Constitution, as well as the Ghanaian electoral code, that election day activities have been assessed by The Carter Center.

While Ghana generally enjoys a strong legal framework for elections, The Carter Center notes that the implementation of this legislation has not been consistent.  Key areas in which the election day processes were at times inconsistent with the electoral legislation include the number of party agents per polling stations, the placement of party seals on ballot boxes during opening and closing,[3] and the determination of voter intent during the count.  While these issues did not appear to affect the integrity of the process and in some instances may have strengthened its transparency, The Carter Center urges the Electoral Commisson to ensure that practices and election legislation are aligned.

Election Administration

An independent and impartial electoral commission which functions transparently and professionally is internationally recognized as an effective means of ensuring that citizens are able to participate in a genuine democratic election, and that other international obligations related to the electoral process are met.[4]   

The Electoral Commission of Ghana is perceived to be independent and enjoys broad public confidence. The commission, members of which are appointed by the President, is responsible for the conduct and supervision of all public elections and referenda.

Election Administration of the 2008 Election

During the 2008 elections the commission took measures to disperse election materials in a timely manner in advance of election day in most cases. However, Carter Center observers noted several instances in which polling place openings were delayed because election materials were not delivered on time, yielding several hour interruptions in the process.  With delays being most severe in five polling stations in the Eastern region, the Electoral Commission has enacted emergency measures to protect the right of voters to cast ballots by holding an emergency voting day on Dec. 8.

On election day, Carter Center observers noted that the majority of poll workers conducted their work professionally and effectively.  The Electoral Commission conducted extensive training programs for election officials in advance of polling day, in accordance with Ghana's constitutional requirements and international commitments.  While observers noted some incidents of confusion at the polling place, possibly resulting from poor training and unclear procedures, we found that Electoral Commission officials were largely responsive to the needs of the voters and sought to promote the integrity of the electoral process.

Carter Center observers reported several cases where polling station staff were faced with unclear procedures (e.g., use of transferred voters list, what do in the case of missing materials, or absent staff).

Procedures for the counting of special voting-day ballots were also unclear. Security personnel and other officials who would be working on election day away from their own polling station were allowed to vote one week early on Dec. 2.  Special voting which took place in each district was observed by the Carter Center in the Greater Accra, Central, Western and Volta regions.  Carter Center observers noted that some voters were misinformed regarding their eligibility to vote for the Parliamentary race on Dec. 7.

According to the Electoral Law, ballots cast during the special voting processes are to be counted at a polling place.[5]  The Carter Center attempted to observe the counting of special ballots.  However, there was some confusion at the constituency level about whether this process should occur at a particular polling station or at a constituency collation center.

The use of several distinct voting lists (e.g. proxy voters list, absent voters list, transferred voters list, ID checklist) caused some confusion on election day. In a large number of polling places observed by The Carter Center, one or more of the lists was missing or did not include complete and accurate data regarding voters.  Where voters' details did not appear on the transferred voters list, inconsistent procedures were applied by polling officials.  In some instances, transferred voters were allowed to vote by providing the transferred voting receipt, in others, voters were turned away from the polls.

While the cooperative spirit that permeated the election process prevented these isolated incidents from distorting either the result or character of the polling, such unclear procedures could pose serious threats to the integrity of the process.  We therefore recommend that the Electoral Commission provide guidance on these and other instances where procedures are unclear.

The Electoral Commission took effective measures to relieve political tension in the weeks leading up to the election through the implementation of inter-party advisory committees.  These bodies appear to have functioned effectively and enjoyed the support and confidence of political parties.


The voting process is the cornerstone of the obligation to fulfill genuine, periodic elections which express the will of the people.[6]

Carter Center observers from across the country noted that the electoral process was peaceful and that electoral officials, parties, security personnel and voters worked together to ensure that the election was orderly.  Voters appeared excited about the process and election day enjoyed high turnout. In some constituencies, the lines of voters were very long, with some waiting as long as five hours to cast their ballot.  This was due in large part to the wide variation in the numbers of voters assigned to each polling place.  Delays at some of these stations could be avoided by allocating additional voting booths on the basis of the number of registered voters per polling place.  Despite observing long wait times, The Carter Center noted that the polling environment remained calm.

While Carter Center observers reported some cases of late poll openings, missing materials, absent presiding officers, and untrained poll workers, they found that in almost all cases such incidents did not affect the integrity of the process, and that, in general, Ghana upheld its commitment to protect the right of citizens to vote.

Ghana's electoral commission has taken the necessary steps to ensure all voters had the right to vote through universal suffrage[7].  Throughout the country Carter Center observers noted that election officials were prepared to handle the influx of voters, that most poll workers had received adequate training to complete their roles, and the Electoral Commission was proactive in making sure all polling stations were functioning.

Security personnel played a constructive role in the process.  The Electoral Commission ensured that adequate numbers of personnel would be available across the country on election day by recruiting staff from five different services.[8]  While Carter Center observers noted their presence they reported no incidents of intimidation or harassment, nor any impediment to the free movement of voters. The peaceful and secure conduct of the election reflects Ghana's fulfillment of its obligation to ensure all citizens' security of the person during the election day processes.

Pre-election day concerns about large-scale under-age voting did not emerge as a significant problem.[9]  Due largely to instructions from the Electoral Commission aimed at ensuring that no eligible voters be denied the franchise, presiding officers generally allowed voters who appeared underage to cast ballots if the voter had a legitimate voter I.D. and was on the voters' register.[10]  More generally, Carter Center observers noted that voters without voter I.D. cards were still allowed to cast ballots if they could substantiate their eligibility on the basis of the I.D. checklist or the voters register.

Although procedures for voting were largely followed in the majority of polling places visited, several procedures had the ability to undermine the secrecy of the ballot.[11]   In some places the privacy screen for voting did not adequately shield the voter from view.  Other observers reported that some polling officials both signed and stamped the back of ballot papers before handing them to voters.  Although it is common practice in Ghana as is included in the electoral law, the use of thumbprints to mark ballot papers has the potential to undermine the secrecy of the ballot.

In addition, while voters' fingers were regularly inked by polling officials, fingers were not always checked for ink.  Because the polling process required the fingers to be inked immediately before the voter received the ballot, wet ink was at times accidentally transferred to the ballot papers by both the voters and poll workers, possibly spoiling the ballot for count. The Electoral Commission may want to consider changing the order of the process, so that the finger is inked after the voter has cast their ballot.

Party agents were well represented in polling places across the country.  They appeared to be well informed about the electoral process and their role, and came to polling places prepared to affix seals to the ballot boxes and take other measures outlined in the law that promote the integrity of the process.[12]  Although Carter Center observers noted inconsistent application of the seals on the ballot boxes, party agents were generally aware of their right to apply these seals.

Agents from across party affiliations worked well together, cooperating with one another in the vast majority of polling places observed, and helping to ensure that polling was conducted in a calm and peaceful environment.  In some polling places, however, party agents played too active a role in the process by performing the responsibilities of polling officials and assistants (e.g. stamping ballot papers and checking IDs).  However, in all of these cases polling officials had requested or allowed such involvement and party agents were treated equally.

Polling-day activities respected Ghana's commitment to the principle of transparency in the electoral process.[13]  In addition to political party agents, The Carter Center observed the presence of domestic observation organizations in many polling places across the country.


The tabulation of election results is still being conducted and a final vote count has not yet been announced. The Carter Center will continue to observe this process until its completion, but offers some initial observations.

A transparent and non-discriminatory vote counting process is an essential means of ensuring that the fundamental right to be elected is fulfilled.[14]

The Carter Center observed the close of polls and counting process in polling stations across the country.  The counting process was generally peaceful, and free from major irregularities which could threaten its integrity.  In spite of some minor irregularities it was largely conducted in accordance with the procedures of Ghana's electoral law and international commitments to transparency.

The Carter Center commends the high level of openness and transparency in the counting process, which was observable by party agents, domestic and international observers, and the media.  In addition the general public enjoyed a high degree of access to the vote count, and party agents were able to issue challenges as necessary.  In almost all stations observed, The Carter Center reported that copies of the official declaration of results were given to all party agents, and results were announced at the polling station level.

In one constituency in the Bolgatanga district in the Upper East region, Carter Center observers noted high numbers of blank ballots and invalid ballots caused by multiple markings on the ballot.  In addition, they noted a high percentage of ballots where voters had placed their thumb mark outside of the voting box but inside the boundary lines of the candidates.  Poll workers appeared to follow EC instructions for determining the intent of the voter when counting the ballots. However, high level of ballot spoilage may indicate the need for continued voter education efforts to ensure consistency in counting processes.

Carter Center observers also noted some instances in which party agents became involved in the counting process.  While this involvement was accepted by election officials and the party agents present, it conflicts with procedures outlined in the Ghanaian Electoral Law, which requires that presiding officers and polling officials conduct the counting.

In some polling places, polling officials were unable to accurately reconcile the ballots cast in their polling place.  This appeared to be caused by confusion about poll closing procedures, lack of adequate training, and counting procedures which continued into the night without sufficient light.  In the cases observed by The Carter Center the discrepancies in vote count process did not appear to significantly undermine the integrity of the process.  However, The Carter Center notes that future processes may be improved by the provision of lamps to all polling stations.

Electoral Dispute Resolution

Effective electoral dispute mechanisms are one means of ensuring that effective remedies are available for violation for fundamental rights, and that everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing.[15]

Ghana's major obstacle regarding electoral dispute resolution has been the low confidence that people have in the ability of the courts to provide responses to election-related complaints in a timely manner.  Several high profile cases from recent election cycles have lasted the full term of the presidential and legislative seats in dispute or longer. Electoral disputes are bound by time in a manner that often necessitates narrowly tailored logistics and administrative planning on the part of the electoral management bureau.  The provision of a timely response at the polling station level can make the ultimate difference in an individual voter's franchise, a pillar of a citizen's confidence in their democratic protections.

This issue was addressed in an exemplary fashion by the Chief Justice of the Ghanaian Supreme Court, who has embarked upon an ambitious program to put in place measures that would speed the adjudication of the electoral disputes.  These measures include modifying existing dockets to give priority to election cases, establishing special benches to hear the cases, and approving weekend work hours for the courts.  While The Carter Center's election observers have not directly observed the new procedures in practice, the court's efforts have been positively received by Ghanaians.

In addition, the Supreme Court recently published a manual that explains how to access the courts and has endorsed alternative dispute resolution practices in the hopes of further speeding the settlement of disputes.  The Carter Center hopes this manual could help facilitate expedited review of cases and should be made widely available to all stakeholders.

Candidates, Parties and The Campaign Environment

Ghana's constitution and its international and regional commitments create obligations related to the nomination of candidates, parties and campaign periods.  These include, among others, the right to be elected, to freely express opinions, and to participate in public affairs[16].

In the months leading up to the elections, the incidents of electoral violence decreased and the general political environment improved significantly.  This can in part be attributed to the involvement of civil society organizations, especially the religious institutions, and the expression of their views regarding increased confidence in democratic and electoral processes.

While isolated reports of violent incidents in both the pre-election and election day periods concern the Carter Center, the Ghanaian electoral cycle was generally peaceful and free from violence or serious intimidation.  However, a zero-sum political environment increased inter-party tensions during the campaign period, especially among the two largest political parties.  In line with their commitments to ensure the security of the person[17] Ghana deployed security forces throughout the campaign period and utilized effective measures to ensure the safety of all Ghanaians before and during the elections.

Throughout the electoral period, party campaigning was relatively calm.  While rhetoric from all major parties has at times verged on inflammatory, The Carter Center recognizes that all candidates' right of freedom of expression was respected in a manner consistent with Ghana's legal framework and international obligations.  Through a set of encounters and presidential debates, political party leaders were challenged to debate the substantive issues confronting the nation rather than engaging in personal attacks.  All parties generally enjoyed freedom of assembly and association; holding rallies and parades, and canvassing to gain supporters.  However, the Public Order Act, which requires parties to notify the police of their intent to hold rallies, was used at times to prevent parties, candidates and citizens from exercising their freedoms of association, movement and expression.

The Carter Center noted that the requirement of a 5,000 cedi presidential nomination fee, when considered against Ghana's average per capita income, could be considered an unreasonable limitation on all citizens' right to be elected.  The parties have appealed to the electoral commission to reassess this fee and to ensure that all eligible citizens have an equal chance to stand for office.[18]

Voter Registration

Sound voter registration processes which ensure an accurate and complete voters' list are a principle means of ensuring that universal suffrage and the right of every citizen to vote are fulfilled.[19]

The Carter Center observed the limited voter registration process that took place July 31 – Aug. 12, 2008.  While the teams found the process to be generally successful, they noted several irregularities.  While the Electoral Commission and others made efforts to educate voters about the registration process, these efforts were too limited to adequately educate the public. Although party agents from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nation Democratic Congress (NDC), and others peacefully engaged in the process, in some registration centers they became too actively involved in the processes by acting as substitutes for election officials.  Observers also noted some isolated incidents of violence (e.g. a dispute between party agents which ended in a shooting in Tamale-Central).

Carter Center long-term observers also assessed the Oct. 5 – 11, 2008, exhibition of the voters' register.  This limited exhibition, which was one of the most controversial aspects of the electoral process, came about as a result of the limited voter registration exercise which produced what was referred to as a 'bloated' register.  The Commission had expected no more than 1,000,000 new registrants.  However, by the end of the 12-day exercise more than 1.8 million people had been added to the voters' register.

Due to controversy on the status of the voters' register, the electoral commission undertook a process to correct the register, removing 349,000 names from the voters' register. However, the commission did not provide the political parties with detailed information regarding the constituencies and districts involved and the criteria used for their removal.  Despite these issues, all major parties agreed to contest the election, and very few party agents filed election day complaints on the basis of the problems with the voters' register.

These problems with the voters' register did not appear to have significantly affected the integrity of the voting process.  However, Ghana should reassess registration processes for future elections to ensure the fulfillment of their international commitments.

Participation of Women

State obligations to promote de facto equality for women derive, in part, from broader political obligations regarding absence of discrimination[20] and the right of all citizens to participate in the public affairs of their country regardless of gender.[21]

Through their ratification of international and regional treaties, Ghana has pledged to promote the political participation of women on an equal basis with men. Election day observation consistently showed that women were active participants in the process, representing an equal percentage of the electorate in most areas.

Despite this significant achievement, Carter Center observers noted widespread inequality in the percentage of women running for elected office and holding positions in the government.  On average, women represent less than 15 percent of electoral contestants and are often prevented from running for office by monetary requirements, gender bias, lack of political will, and male dominated political parties.  Although all parties verbally agree on the importance of equal representation of women in the political process, there are no specific measures taken to ensure women's participation.  Women are also noticeably underrepresented in election administrative structures.   Throughout the entire Northern region, few women hold senior government positions (e.g. only one female holds a senior position in the Regional Ministry of Women and Children).   The Center encourages Ghana to take positive measures to address these inequalities and fulfill its commitments as defined in the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)[22] and the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.[23]

Civil Society and Domestic Observation

International commitments require States to ensure that every citizen has the right to participate in the public affairs of their country, including the ability to participate in civil society and domestic observation organizations, and to freely assemble and associate.[24]

Ghana enjoys a vibrant civil society, with local and national organizations active across the country.  Civil society, including churches and other religious organizations, provided a variety of pre-election voter education programs, and pro-peace initiatives that had a genuine impact on the electoral process.  The use of drama and role-play increased the audience of these messages, ensuring that Ghanaians from all backgrounds received these messages. In addition, observers noted that a number of women's organizations were actively involved in voter outreach drives.

In all, the state promoted an environment in which citizens could participate freely in the public affairs of their country.  On election day a number of domestic observer groups, including the Coalition of Domestic Election Observation Organizations (CODEO), Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG),  Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Graduate Institute for Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) observed the process and moved freely about the country[25].  Although CODEO observers faced initial delays in being granted access to some polling stations, Carter Center observers noted their presence in many polling stations that we visited.   In addition to assessing the quality of the voting process, CODEO observers conducted a Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) with 1,070 rapid-response observers covering all ten regions and 230 constituencies, contributing significantly to the overall transparency of the process.

Voter Education

Voter education is recognized in international law as the principle means to ensure that an informed electorate is able to effectively exercise their right to vote.  States must take specific measures to address difficulties that prevent persons from exercising their rights effectively[26].

Voter education in Ghana is the responsibility of the Electoral Commission.  Civic Education is the responsibility of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE). The Electoral Commission focuses its efforts on the voting procedures while the NCCE tends to focus its work on encouraging citizens to participate in the political process, including elections.

Specific voter education efforts of Ghana's Electoral Commission included public service announcements, civil education posters, and some specialized training aimed at increasing access for people with physical disabilities.  However, Carter Center observers report that these efforts were limited in scope and did not provide adequate education on electoral processes to the Ghanaian public.   The Carter Center would like to note the significant efforts made by the Electoral Commission to inform the public of changes to election day voting procedures through press releases, but remains concerned that this form of voter education does not effectively reach the broadest pool of voters.

Media Environment

International obligations related to the media and elections include freedom of expression and opinion and the right to seek, receive and impart information through a range of media[27].

The Carter Center did not conduct a comprehensive analysis of media coverage during the pre-election period.  However, based on the findings of long-term observers deployed across the regions in advance of election day, The Center notes the following about the environment.

Ghana enjoys a diverse and pluralistic media environment that allows voters to receive a variety of viewpoints and political perspectives, in accordance with key commitments outlined at the international and regional level.[28]  Media generally allows candidates, voters, civil society and others to seek, receive and impart information through debates and radio call-in shows.[29]

Reflecting international commitments, the Constitution of Ghana stipulates that candidates are entitled to the same amount of time and space on the state owned media[30].  However, the majority of Ghanaian media outlets are privately owned.  While candidates are able to purchase airtime there are concerns that the broadcast of political party material is dependent on factors other than finance.  In addition, some political parties expressed concerns regarding bias, especially in State-owned media.

Carter Center observers noted some instances in which media outlets aired programming that included strong language and personal attacks against candidates that heightened tensions in the Central region.  In addition, concerns of media bias were expressed to our observers in Ashanti.  These concerns are strengthened by the influence of political interests in media outlets.

Overall, The Carter Center finds that the December 7, 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary elections were competitive and characterized by high levels of transparency and openness, further reinforcing Ghana's democratic tradition.

This statement is preliminary.  The Carter Center will continue to observe post-election processes through their conclusion.  Final conclusions will be included in subsequent statements and a final report.

The Carter Center conducts election observation in accordance with the Declaration of Principles of International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observation adopted at the United Nations in 2005.

The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 65 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. Visit: to learn more about The Carter Center.

[1] 1992 Constitution of Ghana; Art. 49(1), 55

[2] 1992 Constitution of Ghana; Art. 40(d)

[3] Electoral Law Art. 29.2; 36.4a

[4] United Nations Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 25

[5] The secrecy of the ballot requires that it be impossible to tie a cast vote to a specific voter.

[6] African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Art 13(1)

[7] UDHR, Art. 21(3); ICCPR, Art. 25(b); African Charter on Democracy, Elections & Governance, Art. 4(2)

[8] One of the five services was the Fire Service.  However, the ministry responsible for emergency services might consider whether the fire-prevention role of the fire services is too important to permit their diversion to other duties, especially on election day.

[9] Restrictions on the right to vote based on a minimum age are considered reasonable.  General Comment No. 25

[10] Ghanaian Constitution, ICCPR, AfCHPR

[11] UDHR, Art. 21(3); ICCPR, Art. 25(b)

[12] Presidential/Parliamentary Elections Laws, 29(2); 37(4)

[13] UNCAC, Art. 13(a); AUPCC, Art. 12(2), 3(3)

[14] UNCAC, Art. 13(a); ICCPR, Art. 25; 2(1)

[15] ICCPR, Art. 2(3), 14(1)

[16] The right to be elected is a universal right requiring that States ensure that their citizens have the opportunity to stand for elected office, free from unreasonable restrictions. All citizens are guaranteed the right of equal access to the public services and property of their country; and any derogation from this right which gives advantage to a particular party or candidate may be considered discriminatory. (ICERD, Art. 5(b); ICCPR, Art. 19(2); AfCHPR, Art. 13(2))

[17] ICCPR, Art. 9; African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights; art. 6

[18] United Nations Human Rights Committee General Comment 25, para. 16

[19] An accurate and complete voters registration list promotes public confidence in the electoral process and protects fundamental human right to a genuine democratic election (General Comment No 25, para 16)

[20] ICCPR, art. 25; 2(1); 26

[21] UDHR; Art. 21(a); ICCPR, Art 25(9); ICERD, Art 5(c)

[22] Art. 7

[23] Art. 29.2

[24] General Comment No. 25, para 8


[26] Specific difficulties include such things as language, poverty, and impediments to the freedom of movement.  States must take steps to ensure voter education reaches the broadest possible pool of voters.(United Nations Human Rights Committee General Comment 25, para. 11)

[27] ICCPR, Art. 19

[28] Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, Art 3,

[29] ICCPR Art. 19, UDHR, art 19

[30] IPU Declaration on Criteria for Free and Fair Elections; 1992 Constitution of Ghana, Art. 55(11)

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Delegates Observe Election Day in Ghana, Dec. 7 (2008) >>

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