Election Day in Ghana!

In the US, today is a day of remembrance for the events that took place in Pearl Harbor in 1941. But today in Ghana marks new beginnings: Its election day in Ghana and the entire country is taking part. Many take off work and travel to their hometowns and villages to cast their vote. Campaigning for president is a long intensive effort, just as it is in the US, and we saw many signs and billboards promoting candidates when we were in Ghana this summer.

Voting took place at over 26,000 polling stations where voters were choosing a president from 8 potential candidates. Among the candidates is President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who was sworn in as president when the current president, John Evans Atta Mills, died suddenly in July of this year. The main contender against the incumbent president is Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), who ran in 2008 and lost to President Mills.

The other presidential candidates include: Dr. Henry Herbert Lartey of the Great Consolidated People’s Party (GCPP), Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Mr. Akwesi Addai Odike of the United Front Party (UFP), Mr. Hassan Ayariga of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Dr. Michael Abu Sakara Forster of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), and Jacob Isaac Osei-Yeboah, an Independent Candidate.

In addition to the presidency, voters also voted on candidates for Parliament. There were 1,332 candidates, including 134 women, competing for 275 seats.

The election today used a biometric registration and verification process- a first in Ghana’s voting history. Although voting was peaceful, there were widespread problems with many of the verification machines, which prevented voters in those polling stations from actually being able to vote.

The polls officially closed at 17:00 today and the country (and world) will know who the new president is within 72 hours.

Read the article here.