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More than 42% of Ghanaians unaware of December 17 referendum – Afrobarometer report

A 2019 Afrobarometer survey on the views of Ghanaians on democracy, elections and referendums has indicated that more than half representing 42 percent of Ghanaians say they are not aware of the upcoming December 17, referendum.

According to the survey released by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) on Tuesday, November 12 in Accra, it further revealed that many Ghanaians did not know whether local government elections should be made partisan or remain non-partisan.

“Men, the highly educated, and elderly citizens are more aware of the referendum than women, citizens with less schooling, and young adults. Although a slim majority of those who are aware of the referendum find the Electoral Commission’s preparations for the referendum to be satisfactory, very few say there has been a lot of education about the voting exercise,” the report noted.

The 2019 Ghana Round 8 survey also revealed that a significant proportion of Ghanaians are either not likely to vote in the referendum or “don’t know” whether or not they will vote.

The December referendum seeks the opinion of Ghanaians as to whether local government elections should be open to partisan political competition or not.

The Constitution also requires a minimum 40 percent voter turnout for the referendum to be valid.

However, there is a risk of low voter turnout for this upcoming referendum, since it will be conducted together with local government elections, which historically attracts less than 40 percent of registered voters.

The 2019 survey however, recommended the need for an intensified education of future elections and referendums by Electoral Commission, policy makers, and civil society.

Some key findings of the Afrobarometer report

Fewer than half representing 42 percent of Ghanaians are aware of the December 2019 referendum on whether local government elections should be made partisan or remain non-partisan.

Democracy awareness increased with respondents’ level of education, reaching 62 percent among those with post-secondary education, compared to 35 percent-42 percent among those with less schooling.

Men representing (52 percent) are more likely to be aware of the referendum than women (32 percent). Referendum awareness increased with age, ranging from 40 percent of youth to 47 percent of those over age 55.

Among those who are aware of the election, more than half which represented (54 percent) said the Electoral Commission’s preparations have been satisfactory with only 18 percent saying there has been a lot of education about the referendum.

December 17 Referendum

On December 17, 2019, Ghanaians will make the decision of choosing to vote ‘YES or a NO’ on whether political parties should be given the right to pick candidates and promote them to be elected as District Chief Executives (DCE’s), Assemblymen or Unit Committee Members.

The referendum will also decide on whether whoever gets into the office of a DCE, Assemblymen or Unit Committee Member should be elected by the general Ghanaian electorate.

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