Five (5) candidates in the 2021 University of Ghana Students Representative Council (UGSRC) elections have petitioned the Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. Godfred Bopkin to allow the University of Ghana Computing Systems (UGCS) to take over the conduct of this year’s elections.
These candidates include Felix Tawiah Ayittah, Priscilla Asantewaa Ayeh, Henry Nii Adjiri Quarcoopome, Paul Baah Andam and Abdul-Rashid Abdul-Razak.
Led by Felix Tawiah Ayittah, the candidates in a letter to the Dean on Monday, September 6, 2021, pleaded with his office to, in the interest of transparency, move for the elections to be conducted by the University of Ghana Computing Systems.
The Electoral Commission (EC) of the University of Ghana Students Representative Council (UGSRC), in the Constitutional Instrument for this year’s elections (C. I 21), announced that voting in the 2021 SRC elections will take a hybrid form.
“Strictly online voting for Level 100 and 400 students. For the avoidance of doubt, online voting means voting over the internet electronically. Strictly ballot paper voting for Level 200 and 300 students (In-person voting)” the C. I said.”
For level 100 and 400 students voting online, the C.I. stated that a link will be circulated together with a unique generated code for each person through student email that allows them to vote only once.
The Candidates however in their petition raised concerns about the fairness, transparency, and credibility of the elections should it take this form with external IT personnel.
“In order to ensure that the electoral process is transparent and is actually seen by all actors involved to be so, it is imperative that those manning the elections are seen by all to be transparent. When the elections are conducted electronically, the votes obtained by each candidate are automatically counted and neither the candidates nor their polling agents would be able to monitor this process to ensure that the will of the people is relfected , ultimately .” the petiton said.
They added that online elections can easily be rigged and sighted an example of the SRC elections conducted in the 2014/2015 academic year.
“And considering that the electronic voting system has to do with IT, it can easily be compromised and tampered with by people knowledgeable in that feild. Evidence of this can be found in the SRC election in the 2014/2015 academic year, the aftermath of which was characterized with resentment and acrimony over alleged rigging and vote padding.”
The candidates stated that they wanted the UGCS to conduct the elections for level 100 and 400 students becasue the directorate has conducted a number of successful elections in some halls and departments were the results were accepted by all the participating candidates.
“It must be noted that UGCS has conducted a number of JCR and departmental elections with success and without any doubts as to the creditbility of the process. For example, Legon Hall JCR election, the Geography and Resource Development Students elections among others were all conducted by UGCS and the outcomes of all the elections were accepted by all candidates”
Meanwhile, First Deputy Electoral Commissioner of the UGSRC has stated that the commission is going by the directives in this year’s Constitutional Instrument to hold elections online for level 100 and 400 students and in-person with ballot papers for level 200 and 300 students.
He added that strictly online voting for both cohorts is not an option.
“At the moment, we (the EC) are not anticipating a strictly online (election) so if we are going by the Constitutional Instrument, then the mode of elections will still hold. Strictly online is not an option” he told UniversNews.
This year’s SRC elections has howver been slated for Friday, October 1, 2021.
Full petition below