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Reports of ballot paper burning misleading, says EC

The Electoral Commission (EC) said all stakeholders, including agents of the various political parties, signed an undertaking for the burning to be done

The Electoral Commission (EC) has described media reports suggesting that the Commission has burnt one million extra ballot papers meant for the Ashanti Region as misleading.

A statement issued by the EC said seven local printing houses were engaged to print the 2020 presidential and parliamentary ballot papers and that after “such a massive printing exercise, the waste ballots were shredded and burnt by each printing house in the presence of political party agents.

“The political party agents located in the printing houses were informed about the shredding and burning of waste ballots and as part of the process, they were made to sign an undertaking of consent. This is a routine process that has been in place at the Electoral Commission,” it said.

The statement said on Wednesday, 25 November, it was agreed among political parties, Accra Metropolitan Assembly, National Investigations Bureau (NIB), Ghana Police Service, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and staff of Innolink Printing House that waste and damaged ballots would be burnt at the Old Fadama Mortuary Road Incineration Site.

It said the stakeholders, including agents of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), signed an undertaking for the burning to be done on 27 November.

The statement said, however, after the ballots were shredded at the printing house, the political parties, though in full knowledge of the burning at the Mortuary Road Incineration Plant, did not go to witness the exercise.

It said the “NDC agent took advantage of their absence and invited a journalist …to cover the burning, and falsely claimed that the ballots being burnt were the one million extra ballots the Commission had allegedly printed.”

“His motive was to justify the earlier fabrications put out on social media to the effect that the Commission was secretly printing additional ballots. This is most unfortunate,” the from the EC said.

“It is difficult to understand how the Commission will secretly print one million ballots and then openly, in broad daylight, burn all the ballots in the presence of the stakeholders.”

The statement said it was unfortunate that the reporter did not verify the information and misled the public.

It re-emphasised the need for media practitioners to be circumspect in their reportage not to disrupt the electoral process.

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