Ghana’s general election was to be held on Friday 7 December 2012 to elect a president and members of parliament in 275 electoral constituencies. Competing for presidency were incumbent president John Dramani Mahama or the National Democratic Congress, his main challenger Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party and six other candidates.
The Electoral Commission of Ghana is the official organization in Ghana responsible for all public elections and its independence is guaranteed by the 1992 Ghana constitution.
Prior to the presidential election in 2012, the nation’s biggest political occasion, the Electoral Commission of Ghana decided to implement biometric voter registration system across the nation for over 15 million voters.
This newly developed electronic voter registration system collects and processes ID card information, fingerprints and facial image from every voter registration. 2011, there were 21,004 Polling Stations in Ghana where voters register themselves and vote on elections.
For 2012 election, the Electoral Commission of Ghana aimed to set each of 21,004 Polling Stations with electronic voter registration system.
The move was aimed to prevent double registration and to eliminate ghost names in the old register.
There were 47 international vendors who competed for the Electoral Commission of Ghana’s electronic voter registration project and Suprema RealScan-G10 was selected as voters’ fingerprint registration solution.
RealScan-G10 is a Suprema’s latest fingerprint live scanner which captures slaps(four fingers), two thumbs and single flat images. With its powerful internal DSP and image processing technology, the device captures one set of fingerprint (4+4+2) in 15 seconds with FBI certified image quality standard.
The device also offers superb durability under harsh conditions. RealScan-G10 features IP54 rating that ensures maximum protection against Ghana’s dynamic climate and environment of the polling stations. Polling stations with minimal protection against the environment meant dust and water-proof structure of the device were key to stable operation during voting process.
During the preparations, 45 additional constituencies were added to the 230 of the 2008 general election. Voting therefore took place in a total of 275 constituencies and 26002 polling stations, which required the solution to feature expandability.
Incumbent president John Mahama was declared winner of the election with 50.7% of the vote, just a few thousand votes over the threshold for avoiding a run-off election. Nana Akufo-Addo received 47.74%. With the vote margins very small, importance of preventing tampering was a key aspect. To ensure proper deployment of the devices, The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) trained election observers and deployed 4,000 of them to monitor the elections nationwide.
Observers from ECOWAS Observer Mission led by former Nigerian president, General Olusegun Obasanjo also monitored the elections. The mission noted very minor technical glitches that may happen with first deployment of such complex systems, but added that it had not undermined the fairness and transparency of the election, and yielded a free and fair election with the aid of biometrics.