Today I travelled with a team of CODEO/UCLA enumerators to interview political party agents at polling stations in rural parts of the Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions. Most of these stations had between 100-350 registered voters and things were pretty quiet. All locations had a police officer overseeing the proceedings as well as EC officials in their blue jackets. Despite the remoteness of the polling stations, in villages without tarred roads or electricity, it was amazing to see that all the election materials had been successfully deposited. This included electronic voter verification machines at each station. Earlier this year Ghana composed a biometric vote register, and with fingerprints already captured, today all voters had to verify their ID using the machine. As the adverts in Ghana have been saying: no verification, no vote.
Problems with the verification machines in some parts of the country has led to a continuation of the polls tomorrow. However, nowhere we visited was there a problem.
Ghana is famed across Africa for its well conducted election and today I saw much evidence of this The ballot boxes remain transparent, the voting slips printed in colored ink with large boxes for easy thumb printing and photos of candidates (way simpler and user friendly than slips in UK and US), and all ballot counting is done in public at the close of the polls. Despite some problems with the verification machine it appears Ghana's election logistics remain quite remarkable, and with 26,000 stations to cover this is no insignificant achievement. Tonight all eyes are on the swing regions to see if NDC will retain Greater Accra, Western and Central or whether they will swing back to the NPP. Tonight, it is far too close to call and it will most likely be Sunday until final results are out.
Below: photo of voter using verification machine, polling station in Brong-Ahafo, rejected ballot with two candidates marked (sadly saw quite a few of these).