As Ghana heads to the presidential election in less than a week, young people are employing digital technology to track election fraud and weed out corruption, reports CNN. Using digital technology, Ghanaian youth have found a more effective way to monitor and track election results and malpractices.
They are also able to mobilize fellow citizens in making informed decisions by creating and sharing important information about the election in real time.
“Technology, primarily social media platforms, are enabling Ghanaians to fact check claims, consume news, participate in the electoral process and feel engaged in political party campaigns. Young Ghanaians are also encouraged to register and vote,” Nehemiah Attigah, the principal lead of Ghana’s parliamentary monitoring website Odekro, said.
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With Twitter hashtags, such as #iRegistered and #OVOV (Our Vote, Our Voice), Ghanaians hope to mobilize more voters in this year’s election and ensure that every Ghanaian gets to choose their next president.
Voters can also check their registration details via SMS using a short code created by the Electoral Commission of Ghana. The commission hopes this service will help eliminate the problem of voters being turned away at the polling station because their registration details don’t match.
Accessing Election News
A community of bloggers has established a news website, where Ghanaians can access real-time news on the upcoming election.
The website, Ghana Decides, provides live interviews with members of parliament, election polls, and information about party candidates, including their qualifications.
Also on the site are party manifestos, issues affecting Ghanaian youth, and voter registration procedures.
“Traditional media in Ghana has a reputation of being politicized, particularly during elections. That’s why social media initiatives like Ghana Decides are important. They offer a good balance for Ghanaians at home and abroad: non-partisan, factual, and issue-based information, with none of the ‘politricks,’” Jemila Abdulai, social media lead at Ghana Decides, says.
To fact check political campaigns, Penplusbytes, a civic technology organization in Ghana, has created an app that supports free and fair elections.
The app enables voters to collate data from social media and SMS platforms that can help them identify election irregularities, fraud, and the outbreak of violence.
The organization hopes to share this data with the electoral commission and the National Elections Security Task Force to ensure a quick response when needed.
In Ghana, the president is elected for a four-year-term by the people and the winner has to acquire more than 50 percent of the total votes cast. This year’s election will be held on December 7th.