Creation of new regions: Special Voting set for December 24

Jean Mensah The Electoral Commission has set Christmas Eve for special voting in a referendum to create as many as six new regions. Special

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Jean Mensah

The Electoral Commission has set Christmas Eve for special voting in a referendum to create as many as six new regions.

Special voting allows key professionals linked to an election like security officers, Electoral Commission officials and journalists to vote ahead of the main election.

The main election, in this case, is a referendum in some areas within four regions where there is a push for new regions to be carved out of existing one.

The last region to be created in Ghana was the Upper West in 1983. Some 35 years later, there could be six new additions with a push for the creation of Oti, Ahafo, Brong East, Western North, North East and Savanna regions.

The referendum is set for December 28, 2018.

Updating the media on the Electoral Commission’s preparedness, the chairperson, Jean Mensa said all ballot papers and Biometric Verification Devices are ready.

The last phase of training for recruited presiding officers and polling assistants is expected to be completed on Christmas Day, she told journalists at a press conference Friday, December 21.

She said in addition to its fleet of district and regional officials, the EC has also appointed referendum coordinators.

Mrs. Jean Mensa said the Commission had identified some flashpoints in the voting districts and has notified the police.

Not every resident in regions selected for the referendum is allowed to vote. Only qualified voters within the areas marked out to form part of the new region will have to vote ‘YES’ or ‘NO’.

For example, in the Western region, registered voters in only nine districts which could form the new Western North region will vote.

In the Volta region, the eleven municipalities, districts and towns which could form the Oti region may vote. In the Brong Ahafo region, 17 municipalities and districts could form the proposed Ahafo and Brong East regions.

A proposed Savanna and North East regions could be carved out of the Northern region using seven municipalities and districts.

A minimum voter turnout of 50% of the electorate in the affected areas is required and in addition 80% of this turn-out need to vote ‘YES’ to validate the referendum.

The referendum is the first test for Jean Mensa who is on her fifth month on the job after she became Ghana’s third EC chairperson in July, under the Fourth Republic.