President John Dramani Mahama will secure a first round victory in the 2016 elections, Pollster Ben Ephson has predicted.
According to him, his latest poll indicates the National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential candidate will win by 52.4% while the New Patriotic Party’s Nana Akufo-Addo will secure 45.9% with the other parties claiming a meagre 1.7%.
The Managing Editor of the Daily Dispatch had earlier in October predicted that this year’s presidential and parliamentary election will produce more rejected ballots.
According to him, the balloting for positions for parliamentary candidates which was done without the presidential balloting will create confusion for some voters at the polls, since “hitherto, we had the balloting for the presidential elections, where you place, that same place is done for the parliamentary.”
The EC had scheduled to do the balloting for the Presidential candidates – President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party, Ivor Greenstreet of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and an independent candidate, Jacob Osei Yeboah – who met all the criteria set by the EC.
But it was forced to suspend the process because of the legal suits brought against the Commission by the disqualified aspirants.
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The move, Ben Ephson insists, will worsen the case of rejected ballots during the polls.
“This year, they have done parliamentary first; they would have to do balloting again for the presidential. NDC is third, NPP is fifth. If those two big parties, their status change depending on the number of candidates for the presidential, it is even going to be worse because the parties will now have only two to three weeks to be accustomed to educating their supporters to vote on logos or their emblems. And that is going to be a problem,” he explained on Radio Ghana.
His comments come on the back of a study by the Centre for Democratic Development which revealed that more than twice the national average for rejected ballots in the 2012 elections came from the three regions in the North.
Ghana’s 2012 General Elections produced at 251,720 (2.3%) rejected ballots. Although the number of rejected ballots as a percentage of the total votes cast reduced by 0.13% from the 2008 rate of 2.4% to 2.3% in 2012, the 2012 rate was still higher than the 2004 rate of 2.2%.
Many have said that if rejected ballots were a political party they could boast of a steady increase in popularity ahead of the smaller parties in Ghana.
Ben Ephson believes that in order to reverse the trend, “people should be educated, that is if you make a mistake, you can change it [ballot paper].”