A former Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC) Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan has cautioned political parties not to recruit just anybody to serve as polling agents.
He asked the parties not to assemble ‘nonentities’ as their agents due to the important nature of the work of an agent.
“Fortunately, in some elections I have seen some big people serving as agents don’t go and recruit nonentities to go and do the work at the polling stations, it is brainwork,” he said while speaking at a lecture organized by the Rotary Club of Accra West on Wednesday, February 8.
He explained that political parties need to get polling agents who understand the electoral system and who will be able to use the right approach to raise objections when they suspect things are not being done right.
Dr Afari-Gyan said the work of a polling agent is not about fighting, rather it is brainwork.
He said “Refusing to sign the pink sheet, as we call it in Ghana, does not automatically invalidate the election results.
“Some candidates believe that if the agents don’t sign it means the results are invalid. Sometimes we are told that the candidates even tell the party ‘if I lose very badly don’t sign it’, thinking that it will be invalidated. No, refusing to sign the pink sheet does not automatically invalidate the election results.
“What does the law say? The law says if you are refusing to sign you must give reasons in writing at the polling station why you do not sign it and then the electoral commission will later look into the reason that you have given. If you have not written any such thing then ignore it.
“So it is important to remember that being an agent at the polling station is brainwork, it is not a brawl, it is not a fight, you are not going to fight at the polling station, it is brainwork, the person must understand what is going on so that he can raise these things.
“I have said many times that given the importance of pink sheets, I think nobody is too big to serve his or her party as an agent on election day.”