NPP On Trial: Is The NPP Undeterred By the PVT?

By | December 28, 2012 at 1:35 am | No comments | Africa, Ghana, International Solidarity, News, Situational Awareness

Feature Article, by Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.

Why Is The NPP Undeterred By the PVT as they proceed to court? The NPP flag-bearer has been making rounds explaining to various groups why he and his party would be heading for the courts, without even once accounting for the discrepancies between his claims and those indicated by the PVT. The Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) deters fraud. It detects fraud. So, why would the NPP think that it would not detect those who have no case in crying foul? The PVT is, as it were, a sort of lie detector. And the NPP seems to be failing the test!

The credibility of the NPP is at stake, as they head for the Supreme Court with what they call “incontrovertible evidence” that reveal “a systematic fraud on the part of the Electoral Commission” in the just ended elections in favour of the incumbent, President John Mahama. Obviously, the overwhelming opinion of Ghanaians outside the NDC, gives the victory to the NDC, including some leading members of the NPP itself. Whilst a statement like this may be rightfully attacked as being subjective, one can not say the same thing about the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) that CODEO conducted.

The NPP surely underestimate the impact of scientific data has on their “evidence”, otherwise, they would be embarrassed being overheard by third parties of complaining even in private! The PVT was essentially designed to handle exactly the sort of scenario following an election:

There are many countries that conduct democratic elections. Those who control state institutions and resources or organized means of bribery and intimidation, however, too frequently try to manipulate election processes by: denying opponents the right to stand for office; blocking them from organizing themselves to campaign for votes; restricting their access to mass communications media; preventing the electorate from gaining the knowledge needed to make an informed political choice; intimidating the electorate from making a free political choice; and gerrymandering election districts to deny equal suffrage. When these tactics appear insufficient to ensure victory, such perpetrators of fraud often seek to manipulate election day processes by: blocking access to polling stations; denying qualified electors the right to cast ballots; arranging for illegal voting in their favor; stuffing ballot boxes; manipulating vote counts; rigging vote tabulations; announcing fraudulent results; and blocking proper legal redress. Violence and political retribution also sometimes follow elections, and rightful winners are sometimes prevented from assuming their elected office. Such developments deny government its democratic mandate and set the stage for political instability.

Political parties and candidates therefore must develop skills to monitor the large variety of processes and institutions surrounding elections, and they must learn to mobilize public support and use complain [1]

On December 10, CODEO announced the results of their PVT analysis:

“CODEO can confidently confirm that the results of its PVT are consistent with the official presidential results announced by the Electoral Commission. The PVT data’s rank order of the presidential candidates in terms of their share of the votes is similar to the official EC results. It should be noted, however, that because the PVT data is based on a sample of polling stations, the PVT results may not necessarily perfectly match the official results; but it should fall within a range of values statistically estimated from the PVT data. A concern would have been raised if any of the official results were to fall significantly outside the PVT estimated range. Clearly, this is generally not the case for the official results of the 2012 presidential polls.

This gives CODEO the confidence that the results of the 2012 presidential polls declared by the Electoral Commission are generally an accurate reflection of how Ghanaians voted in the December, 7 polls. Accordingly, CODEO advises the presidential election contestants and their supporters as well as the general public to place confidence in the Electoral Commission’s official presidential election results. [2]

What is a PVT?

“A PVT involves deploying trained nonpartisan monitors to a statistical sample of often thousands of polling stations who rapidly report their findings. The monitors report on their direct observations of targeted aspects of the voting, counting and tabulation processes, including vote counts at their assigned locations. They evaluate qualitative aspects of election day processes that are essential to assessing electoral integrity and developing statistical projections of what honest results should be within narrow margins of error. Monitors record the information on standardized forms and communicate their findings to a central point. The quality of the data is evaluated and the findings are analyzed to produce accurate and timely characterizations of the election day processes, including the integrity of the official election results. The findings are then reported to the public along with recommendations concerning the election process.” [3]

The good news is that the 2012 electoral process was accompanied by this form of parallel auditing by sample process undertaken by CODEO. According to CODEO, “The PVT exercise was conducted to help to scientifically and independently verify the accuracy of the official result of the presidential election declared by the Electoral Commission. The exercise was also intended to help confirm that the official results of the presidential polls truly reflect the will of the Ghanaian people.” [4]

I am glad that others have tried to point this out and to solicit a reasoned response from the NPP, as to how come the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) that CODEO conducted as part of its overall effort to observe the 2012 elections, came out to confirm the results announced by the Electoral Commission? A hurdle the NPP needs to jump in terms of making any scientific sense is to challenge the CODEO analysis:

“The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) conducted Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) as part of its overall effort to observe the 2012 elections, as it had done in the 2008 polls. The PVT exercise was conducted to help scientifically and independently verify the accuracy of the official result of the presidential election declared by the Electoral Commission. The exercise was also intended to help confirm that the official results of the presidential polls truly reflect the will of the Ghanaian people. As at 9:00pm on Saturday December 08, 2012, CODEO was in a position to verify the official results upon announcement by the Electoral Commission.

Based on the findings of the PVT, CODEO can confidently assure all political contestants and the public that the official results announced by the Election Commission accurately reflect the ballots cast by voters at all the Electoral Commission designated polling stations over the two days of voting. ” [5]

CODEO explains the methodology used and what they mean by PVT:

The PVT is an advanced and scientific election observation technique that enables election observers stationed at polling stations to record and transmit, in real-time, information about the conduct of the opening of the polls, voting and official vote count processes to a central election observation point using text messaging. This technique has been used successfully around the world, including Ghana in 2008, to promote electoral integrity and help defend the rights of citizens to vote and to protect such rights when exercised. The first PVT was conducted in the Philippines in 1986. In Africa, the PVT methodology has been successfully used in Madagascar, Malawi, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Unlike an exit poll, PVT Observers do not ask voters about the choices they made at the polls to predict the outcome of an election. Rather, PVT Observers simply record the official vote count or figures announced by election officials at polling stations and rapidly transmit this information to an observation center via coded text message to estimate election results. In other words, CODEO PVT data is collected directly from polling stations as oppose to media houses which report results from collation centers. [6

CODEO wrote on its Facebook page:

Please note that PVT data is based on a sample of polling stations, so the PVT results may not necessarily perfectly match the official results; but it should fall within a range of values statistically estimated from the PVT data.

A concern would have been raised if any of the official results were to fall significantly outside the PVT estimated range. Clearly, this is generally not the case for the official results of the 2012 presidential polls. To hear more on how we actually conduct PVT, listen here https://soundcloud.com/codeoelections/codeo-info-audio-english-1 [7]

FINDINGS FROM PVT:

The findings presented in this statement are based on information received from 1,492 PVT Observers located in all the 275 constituencies by 9:00pm on Saturday 08 December 2012.

All PVT data was thoroughly checked for accuracy and internal consistency. A total of 635,014 Ghanaians cast their ballots at the 1,492 sampled PVT polling stations. Each of the eight Presidential Candidates received the following percentage of the valid vote cast as compared to the PVT estimates:

Table 3: PVT Estimates and Official Results of the December 7, 2012 Presidential Election



Table
3: PVT Estimates and Official Results of the December 7, 2012
Presidential Election
Inline images 1

 The PVT estimate of a voter turnout of 78.68%, with a margin of error 0.58%, is close to the official figure of 79.43%.

 The PVT estimate of rejected ballots is 1.65%, with a margin of error of 0.09%, is also quite close to the Electoral Commission’s figure of 2.2%. [8]

The announcement by CODEO as an independent observer, in addition to the results by the MultiMedia group attests to the strength of our democracy and the weakness of the NPP case. They can never make their case without a rebuttal of the confirmations by independent observers. Remember that PVT Observers record the official vote count or figures announced by election officials. The results are collected directly from polling stations where its declared in front of the public as opposed to media houses which report results from collation centres

The NPP remains woefully isolated in its claims of having been cheated. Considering the solid reputation of Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner and his Commission, backed by an independent scientific confirmation of the results being accurate, the NPP obviously faces serious obstacles to its own credibility, if they choose to go to court, instead of licking their wounds. What makes their task even tedious is not the fact that public opinion weighs strongly against them, but the science on the ground also confirms the veracity or accuracy of the figures released by the Electoral Commissioner.

Interestingly, Ghanaians were glued to the radio, MultiTV, Joyonline, Twitter, Facebook, Telephones, and all manner of ways to follow minute-by-minute the unfolding drama of who was going to emerge as the next President. The Election Centre established by the MultiMedia team of independent reporters as election observers, called the elections for President John Mahama. The Electoral Commission’s announcement which followed was more or less a confirmation of anyone who has been following the evolution of the results as they came in, from polling stations to constituency to the national.

The verdict of other international observers is no different, and it goes without saying, that there is not a single international observer who holds the contrary view that the elections were free, fair, peaceful, transparent, with a high participation and generally reflected the will of the people of Ghana. Every country that matters to Ghana not only congratulated the President-Elect, but also congratulated Ghanaians for a very successful election.

This is what the NPP is up against. Their chances of glory recedes and becomes even dimmer than it was before the elections!

Forward Ever! Backward Never!

For Life, the Environment, and Social Justice!

Nana Akyea Mensah, Ghana Steering Committee,

P-AI, Social Media Campaigns | December 11, 2012

SocialMedia@panafricanistinternational.org

Pan-Africanist International – a grammar of Pan-Africanism and its manners of articulation!

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REFERENCES:

[1]The Quick Count and Election Observation | GNDEM, http://www.gndem.org/ndimanual_quickcount_eng,

ndimanual_quickcount_intro&chp1_en.pdf

[2] CODEO’S Statement On The Official 2012 Presidential Results, 10 December 2012 , http://www.codeoghana.org/images/CODEO%20PVT%20Statement%20(FINAL-FINAL-Final%20)-2012.-1.pdf

[3] NDI Organizes Parallel Vote Tabulation Academy | NDI http://www.ndi.org/NDI_Organizes_Parallel_Vote_Tabulation_Academy

[4] CODEO, op. cit.http://www.codeoghana.org/images/CODEO%20PVT%20Statement%20(FINAL-FINAL-Final%20)-2012.-1.pdf

[5] ibidem http://www.codeoghana.org/images/CODEO%20PVT%20Statement%20(FINAL-FINAL-Final%20)-2012.-1.pdf

[6] ibidem http://www.codeoghana.org/images/CODEO%20PVT%20Statement%20(FINAL-FINAL-Final%20)-2012.-1.pdf

[7] Coalition Of Domestic Elections Observers – CODEO, 10 Decemberhttp://www.facebook.com/CODEOElections:

[8] CODEO, op. cit.http://www.codeoghana.org/images/CODEO%20PVT%20Statement%20(FINAL-FINAL-Final%20)-2012.-1.pdf

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