The Electoral Commission (EC) says Returning Officers (RO) are mandated for the conduct and supervision of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in a constituency under the direction of the District Electoral officer and the Commission.
The Returning Officer would be issued with two writs of election: first to certify the number of votes cast in favour of each Presidential candidate; and second to certify on the writ the name of the Member of Parliament elected for his or her constituency.
Election 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary manual tagged: “A Guide to Voters,” made available to the Ghana News Agency indicates that as part of its efforts to ensure smooth electioneering processes, the EC has launch educational campaign to assist the public understand the roles of the officers who would be in charged to execute various tasks during the December 7 polls.
The Returning Officer’s principal duties include: to receive and process nominations of parliamentary candidates; train and supervise the work of Presiding Officers and Polling Assistants; and certify the letter of appointment of the party or candidate agents.
The RO is also in charge of retrieving ballot boxes and other election materials from the polling stations; resolve disagreements over rejected ballot papers; collate the election results from polling stations in the constituency; and submit election related documents to the District Electoral Officer.
The RO is assisted with two or more Deputy Returning Officers in the performance of his or her duties.
According to the EC manual on polling day, the RO and the deputies must inspect the polling station in the constituency on a continuous basis to ensure the smooth and proper conduct of the poll.
“Where necessary, a returning or deputy returning officer has the power to take over the management of the polling station or instruct a polling assistant to take charge as a Presiding Officer when the need arises,” the EC stated.
In collating the results, a summation of the votes cast for each candidate at the polling stations including that of special voting day in the constituency shall be executed so as to ascertain the winner.
The Officer would declare the winner of the parliamentary contest and also announce the collated provisional results for the presidential contest.
Copies of the results declaration forms (EL 23 A&B and EL24 A&B), would be forwarded to the Commission by the Returning officer.
Also the RO would endorse the results of the election on the writ of election (forms E.L. 1A& 1B) and forward it to the district officer.
In addition, a copy of the constituency summary result sheet forms E.L. 24A &24b duly endorsed by the RO and collation agents would be sent to the district officer.
The Returning Officer would finally post a copy of the results sheet in an inconspicuous place at the constituency centre.
The publication of the EC Guide to the Voter is captured under the “GNA Tracks Election 2016 Project”, being funded by GOIL, the foremost indigenous oil marketing company and CIMG 2015 Petroleum Company of the year.
The project seeks to sensitise the electorate on the various issues raised by political parties, the elections management body and other governance institutions.
It aims at ensuring gender and social inclusion in national politics and to provide voice for the youth, vulnerable groups, opinion leaders and the broader spectrum of the society, and to contribute to the achievement of peaceful polls.
Another objective of the project is to create a platform to dissect the manifestoes of all political parties and provide in-depth analysis of each thematic area to the electorate to enable them to make an informed judgment.