A registered voter who due to ill health will not be able to vote on the polling day; or is absent from the constituency and will be unable to vote on polling day has a chance to vote after all.
He or she (the applicant) may not less than forty-two days before the poll in the constituency apply to the returning officer of the constituency or to the Electoral Commission for the name of the trusted registered voter to be entered on the proxy list. Proxy voting therefore offers a window of opportunity for persons who may be unable to cast their ballots on voting day due to one reason or the other.
In Ghana, the procedure for voting by proxy is covered under Section 25 of the Constitutional Instrument 94 (C.I. 94.) Public Elections Regulation 2016.
According to the section, the applicant shall complete a proxy form as set out in Form Six of the Schedule.
The returning officer or the representative of the Electoral Commission shall endorse the proxy form, which is in quadruplicate, and distribute the original to the Returning Officer of the constituency where the applicant wishes the proxy to vote. The duplicate copy will be given to the commission whilst the triplicate goes to the proxy with the quadruplicate going to the applicant.
Even though the law states that the proxy should be one who qualifies to be a registered voter and not necessarily a registered voter, it has become imperative practically, according to the commission, for the person appointed by the applicant as a proxy to be a registered voter in the polling station where the applicant expects him or her to vote so that he or she shall be biometrically verified by the Biometric Verification Device (BVD).
Where the returning officer or a representative of the commission is satisfied that the proxy is qualified to be registered as a voter and that the applicant is a registered voter, that officer shall enter the name and the particulars of the applicant and the proxy on the proxy list and assign the proxy to the polling station of the applicant; indicate on the proxy list the polling station of the applicant; and forward a copy of the list to the presiding officer for the polling station to which the proxy is assigned.
The applicant’s picture and bar code will be on the Proxy List whilst the picture of the proxy is also on the right hand side of the applicant without the bar code.
When the censor of the BVD is put on the bar code of the applicant the picture of the proxy and his or her data pop up on the screen of the BVD. The proxy then put any of his or her fingers for the BVD to indicate verified.
It is relevant to indicate that both the data of the applicant and the proxy are in the register of the polling station and if the censor of the BVD is put on the applicant bar code the sound already voted is heard hence no one can misuse it. But for the proxy he or she can be verified and vote at the centre.
The applicant is put on the Absent Voters List. It is only the proxy that votes twice at the centre.
Both Proxy List and Absent Voter List for each centre are given to all registered political parties.
Conditions For Proxy Voting.
It must be pointed out that a person appointed as a proxy may vote in the elections at the polling station where that person is assigned to vote and the provision relating to voting procedure under these regulations shall apply.
Additionally, a person shall not appoint more than one person at a time as a proxy to vote for that person at that election.
A person whose application to vote by proxy is accepted and endorsed by the returning officer of the constituency or the commission shall not vote at the election in respect of which the applicant was granted.
The returning officer or the commission shall also cancel the appointment of a proxy where an application is made for cancellation by the person who made the application for the appointment of the proxy.
According to the law, an application for the cancellation of proxy shall be made within seven days of the acceptance and endorsement of the proxy by the commission and in a form determined by the commission.
Finally, a proxy whose appointment is cancelled shall cease to have the right to vote for the applicant whether or not the proxy is aware of the cancellation.