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Fee Hike not to frustrate small political parties, says Ghana Electoral Commission ahead of Polls

The Electoral commission also set September 29 and 30 as the dates for the candidates to officially present their nomination papers

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A sign for Ghana's Electoral Commission is seen at a voting station in Accra during a previous poll. Source:VOA
  • Ghana’s Electoral Commission announced the fees for the nominees for the presidential and parliamentary candidates, i.e., $12,505 and $2,501 respectively
  • The announcement was made following a stakeholder’s meeting with the Interparty Advisory Committee in Accra
  • The Supreme Court of Ghana ordered the Electoral commission to delete the names of the registered voters who used their National Health Insurance Scheme card as an identification for registering

GHANA, Sept 14, 2016: The Electoral Commission of Ghana has sharply denied accusations that its newly released nomination fees for candidates are exorbitant and intended to frustrate smaller political parties.

Ghanaian electoral laws allow the commission to determine nomination fees for presidential and parliamentary candidates ahead of polls. Presidential candidates will be required to pay $12,505 and parliamentary candidates will pay $2,501 for the December 7 elections, the commission said.

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Spokesman Eric Dzakpasu said the commission made the announcement following a stakeholders meeting Thursday with the Interparty Advisory Committee in Accra.

“This is a decision taken by the commission at the very highest level, and I would say that it is not ‘elimination by rough tactics,’ as they put it. These are fees which have been informed by a lot of considerations. The law also makes a room that these are not fees that can be kept by the commission at all because they are refundable fees” for candidates who reach a specified level of support, Dzakpasu said.

“If you are a presidential candidate, by regulation, if at the end of the election you are able to get 29 percent of the votes cast in the election, your money is refunded to you,” he said. “If you are a parliamentary candidate if you are able to get 12.5 percent of the votes in your constituency, your money is refunded to you.”

Current Composition of the Parliament of Ghana. Source: VOA
Current Composition of the Parliament of Ghana. Source: VOA

Nomination papers

The commission also set September 29 and 30 as the dates for the candidates to officially present their nomination papers, which will allow them to qualify for ballot placement. Presidential candidates will need two signatures from each of the country’s more than 250 administrative districts, while the parliamentary candidates are required to have 20 signatories from their respective constituencies.

Meanwhile, an exhibition of the list of those who used the National Health Insurance Scheme card as identification during voter registration ends Saturday.

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Supreme Court judges recently ruled that the electoral commission should delete from the register names of those who used the NHIS cards. The commission then deleted the names and re-registered about 29,000 people.

Those who have been re-registered are required to check their information as captured during the process. This, the electoral commission said, forms part of its efforts to compile a credible voter list to be used for the December elections. (VOA)

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US President Donald Trump Again Slams Google for Manipulating 2016 Election

Trump and fellow Republicans have accused tech giants including Google of bias against conservative viewpoints

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US, President, Donald Trump
President Donald Trump listens during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, July 16, 2019, in Washington. VOA

US President Donald Trump has once again lashed out at Google for manipulating millions of votes in the 2016 presidential elections in favour of then Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

“Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought,” Trump tweeted late Monday.

However, the report Trump mentioned in his tweet was published in 2017 that described there was a bias in Google and other search engines during the run-up to the 2016 elections.

Trump’s tweet citing an old research paper also tagged conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch with his tweet, “perhaps asking them to investigate. It’s also unclear who he thinks should sue the company”, reports TechCrunch.

In a statement, Google said: “This researcher’s inaccurate claim has been debunked since it was made in 2016. As we stated then, we have never re-ranked or altered search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

Clinton also responded to Trump: “The debunked study you’re referring to was based on 21 undecided voters. For context that’s about half the number of people associated with your campaign who have been indicted.”

google, online tracking
A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

The paper was published by Robert Epstein, a psychology researcher who works for the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology and testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in June.

The CNBC reported that “Trump’s tweet appears to refer to documents leaked to conservative group Project Veritas, but the documents do not appear to contain any outright allegation of vote manipulation or attempts to bias the election”.

Earlier this month, Trump criticized Google CEO Sundar Pichai for alleged ties to election tampering and China’s military.

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“@sundarpichai of Google was in the Oval Office working very hard to explain how much he liked me, what a great job the Administration is doing, that Google was not involved with China’s military, that they didn’t help Crooked Hillary over me in the 2016 Election,” he had tweeted.

Trump and fellow Republicans have accused tech giants including Google of bias against conservative viewpoints. (IANS)