The Electoral Commission (EC) has tasked Returning Officers with the mandate to certify the appointment letters of party or independent candidate’s agents for the purposes of observing electoral activities at designated polling stations on Election Day.
The Returning Officer is also mandated to receive and process the nominations of candidates; train and supervise the work of the Presiding Officers and Polling Assistants; and also collate the election results from polling stations within the constituency.
Mr Kwame Amoah, EC Greater Accra Regional Director told the Ghana News Agency and explained that the EC’s Election 2020 Guide to Voters handbook catalogued responsibilities of key actors including; Returning Officer; Presiding Officer, Polling Assistants, Security Officers, the Voter, and Gender and Disability.
He said the guide would assist voters to better understand the procedures and the underlying objectives of fairness, transparency, and verifiability.
Mr Amoah explained that, the EC Chairperson had confirmed the appointment of the Returning Officer in writing and issued with two writs of election –to certify the number of ballots cast in favour of each Presidential Candidate, and to certify on the writ the name of the Member of Parliament elected for his or her constituency.
He said the Commission was hopeful that voters and all other stakeholders would exercise their constitutional voting rights and civic responsibilities dutifully and in accordance with the rules of elections in the country.
The Returning Officers were also responsible for the conduct and supervision of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in the constituency under the direction of the District Electoral Officer and the EC.
The Returning Officer is mandated to retrieve ballot boxes and other election materials from the polling station; resolve disagreements over rejected ballot papers; collate the election results from polling stations in the constituency, and announce the results; and submit election related documents to the District Electoral Officer.
According the EC, two or more Deputy Returning Officers would assist the Returning Officer on his or her duty.
“On polling day, the Returning Officer and the Deputies must inspect the polling stations in the constituency on a continuous basis to ensure the smooth and proper conduct of the poll.
“Where necessary a Returning or Deputy Returning Officer has the power to take over the management of the polling station or instruct a Polling Assistants to take charge as a Presiding Officer when the need arises,” it said.
The Guide also identifies list of documents which should include; the Special Voters List; Absent Voter List; Exception Lists; and Multiple/Duplicate Lists.
The EC explained that persons whose details-names and photographs appeared either on the exception list of the multiple registration list will not have their names and photographs on the main the Voter Register. “Such a person will thus not be able to vote”.