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It’s an offence to sell alcohol near polling stations – EC

The Electoral Commission (EC) has warned that the sale of alcohol within 500 meters of any polling station is deemed as an electoral offence, which can attract severe consequences.

Mr Kwame Amoah, EC Greater Accra Regional Director, therefore, warned people operating such joints to sell alcoholic beverages within the 500-meter radius of a polling station not to open on Election day.

The EC Greater Accra Regional Director who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency on the EC Election 2020 Guide to voter manual explained that it was equally an electoral breach to take anything that revealed the candidate or party to vote for to the polling station on Election Day.

Mr Amoah said to have one’s name in the voter’s register more than once; to attempt to vote before the poll officially opens, or after it closes was also an offence.

He said any unqualified person who attempts to vote and attempting to vote or voting in the name of another person, living, dead or fictitious is an offence.

Mr Amoah noted that the electoral laws also classified anyone who intentionally destroyed a ballot paper or any form related to an election, and tamper, or attempt to tamper in any way with the contents of a ballot box as electoral enemy.

He said it was an offence to organize or train a group of persons in the use of force or violence for electoral purposes and use or threaten or use force or violence against and inflict physical or spiritual injury or harm to a person or group of persons.

He stated that, compelling or inducing a candidate to withdraw his or her candidature, to remove any notice lawfully exhibited in connection with an election, make or publish by written or spoken word or song, a false statement about the personal character of a candidate or the conduct of a political party is an offence.

He said ‘inciting enmity against a person, group of persons, or political party on grounds of religious, ethnic, professional, regional, or political affiliation is an affront to our electoral rules.’

He said it was also an infringement for anyone to attempt to find out how someone was going to vote or had voted; campaigning within and around the polling station for a candidate, or offer advice to, or try to influence a voter to vote for a particular party or candidate as an offence.

Mr Amoah noted that engagement in double or multiple voting was an offence punishable by law; “selling or attempting to sell, buying or attempting to buy a ballot paper is an offence”.

He explained that a person found guilty of an election offence may be fined up to 500 penalty units or imprisoned for at most two years or both, a penalty unit is GH¢500.00. For some offences, a person may also be disqualified from voting in subsequent elections or from holding any public office.

 

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