The Electoral Commission (EC) saved the country $90 million in the conduct of the 2020 Election, the Chairperson of the commission, Mrs Jean Mensa, has disclosed.
That, she said, was achieved through a reduction of the cost of the election from $13 per person in 2016 to $7.7 in 2020.
Moreover, it also cut down the time it took a voter to vote from 10 to 12 minutes per voter to three to five minutes.
Mrs Mensa said Election 2020 was also the first election in the Fourth Republic to be fully funded by the government, with no donor funding to support the election management processes.
She was addressing the opening ceremony of the high-level parliamentary seminar on: “Two decades of democratic elections in ECOWAS member states: Achievements, challenges and the way forward”, in Winneba yesterday.
The Chairperson of the EC said the commission achieved those feats, in spite of inflation, price hikes and the additional cost it incurred owing to the COVID-19 protocols it deployed throughout the election processes.
“I humbly refer to Ghana’s 2020 elections as historic for the transparency, credibility, cost-effectiveness, high turnout and peaceful conduct that characterised them. So orderly, so methodical, so calm were the polls on 7th December, 2020 that BBC Africa could find no other way to describe our elections than ‘boring’,” she said.
According to her, the elections were historic because “we conducted all our electoral processes and elections at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, without the spread of the virus”.
Mrs Mensa said elections were one of the most significant building blocks of a democracy, as they helped preserve the sanctity of a democracy.
“Through elections, a people exercise their sovereign will to choose their own leaders, and through electoral laws and processes, a nation unites under the common purpose of protecting that sovereign will,” she said.
She, however, said elections and the processes that preceded them “sometimes prove divisive and de-stabilising and threaten the very cohesion they are designed to provide”.
She said everyone had a key role in determining whether, going into the next two decades, “ours will be a story of a rising Africa, an inspiration and a repository of best practices for the lasting benefit of generations yet unborn, or whether it will be another sad African tale of a lost legacy and a broken promise to a generation that looked to us with hope”.
Mrs Mensa said the December 2020 elections in Ghana proved that the story of elections in the sub-region could. indeed. be an inspiration.
“That our story as West African states can be one that brings hope to our youth and light to the coming generation, and that we can provide best practices that the most advanced democracies of the world can learn from. Yes, we can,” she declared.
Odds and challenges
According to her, Ghana proved that elections in the sub-region could be efficiently conducted, in spite of the odds and challenges.