The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) has said its Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology used to observe the 2020 presidential election, just as it did in 2008, 2012 and 2016, corroborates the results declared by Electoral Commission Chair Jean Mensa.
Out of the 13,119,460 total valid votes cast, President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was the candidate of the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP), polled 6,730,587 votes representing 51.302 per cent.
His closest contender, the presidential candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress, former President John Dramani Mahama, polled 6,213,182 representing 47.359 per cent.
The two parties virtually split the 275 parliamentary seats.
In a statement signed by Sheikh Arimiyawo Shaibu, Acting Chair, for and on behalf of the Advisory Board, CODEO said it “can confidently verify the outcomes of the presidential election results as announced by the EC”, adding: “The findings presented in this statement are based on data received from all 1,502 PVT polling stations across the 275 constituencies in the country’s 16 regions”.
“The data was thoroughly checked for accuracy and internal consistency”, the local election observer group noted, adding: “Given that the official result announced by the Electoral Commission for each candidate falls within their respective PVT estimated confidence ranges, CODEO can confidently confirm that its PVT estimates are consistent with the official presidential election results”.
“Not only do CODEO’s PVT estimates match the official results of the EC, but our observers also reported that the two main parties (NDC and NPP) had party agents at over 99% of polling stations and that both NDC and NPP party agents also signed the official declaration of polls and were given copies of those documents”, the statement said.
Read excerpts of CODEO’s statement below:
On Sunday, December 6, 2020, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), in its press statement, communicated to the nation its intention to once again employ the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology to observe the 2020 presidential election, just as it did in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
The PVT methodology is a reliable tool available to independent and non-partisan citizens’ election observer groups around the world for verifying the accuracy of official presidential elections results. In keeping with our protocols, which is that CODEO releases its PVT findings after the official results have been announced by the Electoral Commission, CODEO is here to release its PVT estimates for the presidential election.
CODEO’s PVT estimates for the presidential results form part of its comprehensive election observation activities for the 2020 elections that covered voter registration exercise, pre-election environment observation for three months (September to November), and election day observation.
The PVT Methodology
The PVT is an advanced and scientific election observation technique that combines well-established statistical principles and Information Communication Technology (ICT) to observe elections. The PVT involves deploying trained accredited Observers to a nationally representative random sample of polling stations.
On Election-Day, PVT Observers observe the entire polling process and transmit reports about the conduct of the polls and the official vote count in real-time to a central election observation database, using the Short Message Service (SMS) platform.
The PVT technique has been deployed successfully around the world 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. Since then, the methodology has been deployed in election observation in Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Guyana, Albania, Bangladesh, Belarus, Indonesia, Georgia, Macedonia, Slovakia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Ukraine. In Africa, the methodology has been deployed successfully in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya and Tunisia. Unlike pre-election surveys (which track voter intentions) or exit polls (which track voter recollections), the PVT is based on the actual behaviour of electorates in an election.
In other words, PVT Observers do not speak to voters about the choices they made at the polls to predict the outcome of an election. Rather, after observing the entire voting and counting process, PVT Observers record the official vote count as announced by election officials at polling stations and rapidly transmit this information to an observation centre via coded text message. Consequently, the PVT data is collected directly from polling stations.
PVT in Ghana in Retrospect
CODEO applied the PVT methodology for the first time in its election observation work in the year 2008 and has since used it in all subsequent presidential elections, including the current one (i.e. 2012, 2016 and 2020).
As presented in Tables 1 to 3, CODEO’s previous PVT estimates of the presidential election results have been consistent with the official results announced by the EC in 2008, 2012 and 2016 (See Appendix A, Tables A1 to A4).
Similarly, CODEO’s PVT voter turnout and rejected ballot rates in the previous elections have also been consistent with figures announced by the EC (See Appendix A, Table A5).
The 2020 PVT Estimates of the Presidential Election
By midnight of December 7, 2020, CODEO had received data of vote count from its 1,502 PVT Observers who were deployed to a nationally representative random sample of polling stations located in every region and constituency of the country.
CODEO, at this point, can confidently verify the outcomes of the presidential election results as announced by the EC. The findings presented in this statement are based on data received from all 1,502 PVT polling stations across the 275 constituencies in the country’s 16 regions.
The data was thoroughly checked for accuracy and internal consistency.
Table 1 below shows the percentages of the valid votes garnered by each of the twelve presidential candidates announced by the EC compared to the PVT estimates. In general, each candidate’s official result closely matches the PVT estimate and falls within the estimated confidence of 95% range and the associated margin of error. Also, the PVT ranking of the presidential candidates based on their share of the valid votes received is largely similar to what was put out by the EC.
Aside from the fact that the PVT estimates of candidates’ vote share received generally match the EC’s official results, the PVT estimated rejected ballots of 2.25% with a margin of error of ±0.11% is also consistent with the EC’s figure of 2.33%. The official voter turnout rate of 79.0% announced by the EC is slightly outside the PVT voter turnout confidence range based on the estimated turnout rate of 79.69% and error margin of ±0.46% (Table2). It is worth noting, however, that this could be due to exclusion of the outstanding results from Techiman South Constituency with a total number of 128,018 registered voters.
Given that the official result announced by the Electoral Commission for each candidate falls within their respective PVT estimated confidence ranges, CODEO can confidently confirm that its PVT estimates are consistent with the official presidential election results.
Not only do CODEO’s PVT estimates match the official results of the EC, but our Observers also reported that the two main parties (NDC and NPP) had party agents at over 99% of polling stations and that both NDC and NPP party agents also signed the official declaration of polls and were given copies of those documents.
Further, evidence from CODEO’s PVT Observers showed that on December 7, 2020 voting and counting were conducted as per relevant electoral laws, with no significant incidents related to the voting process (Refer to CODEO’s Preliminary Statement).
In that statement, CODEO noted that the arrangements put in place by the Electoral Commission from setup, voting to counting of ballots at polling stations were generally adequate and credible. In that statement, CODEO also projected a voter turnout and rejected ballot rates of approximately 80.0% and 2.0%, respectively, which has been re-confirmed in today’s statement of CODEO’s PVT estimates on the presidential results. Indeed, the EC official voter turnout and rejected ballot rates are largely consistent with the PVT projections.
CODEO’s pre-election environment observation reports also noted a generally peaceful electoral environment, with political parties focusing their campaigns on policy and developmental issues, with a few incidents of use of abusive or inflammatory language recorded.
Thus, CODEO’s pre-election and election day observation reports, as well as our PVT data, should give Ghanaians confidence the results declared by the Electoral Commission reflect how Ghanaians voted in the December 7 presidential polls. Accordingly, CODEO advises the contestants in the presidential election, their supporters, and the general public to place confidence in the official presidential results as declared by the Electoral Commission.
We encourage any party or candidate with issues about the presidential results to peacefully resolve these through proper legal and procedural channels. CODEO appeals to Ghanaians to remain calm, law-abiding and allow the systems to work. CODEO further commends the maturity shown by Ghanaians throughout the voting, counting, and collating processes.
CODEO deeply regrets the isolated cases of violence at some polling stations and constituency collation centres, which led to the loss of lives. CODEO expresses its condolences to the bereaved families and wishes the injured citizens a speedy recovery.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please be assured that CODEO’s comprehensive election observation activities are not over yet. CODEO will continue to observe the post-election environment, and also organise a stakeholder review session(s) to draw lessons from the just concluded 2020 elections to inform future elections. On behalf of the Advisory Board of CODEO and all its member organisations, we would like to thank the thousands of Ghanaians across the country that volunteered to serve as nonpartisan election Observers and the technical team who worked tirelessly to protect the integrity of the December 7, 4 2020 polls.
CODEO also commends the security agencies for their professionalism in maintaining peace during voting, counting, and collation of results. The Coalition acknowledges and commends other stakeholders, including other local and international observer groups, and the entire population for the high sense of comportment during the elections.
CODEO would also like to acknowledge the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Coalition further acknowledges the additional support of the STAR-Ghana Foundation with funding from UKAID and the European Union.
GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND GHANA!!!!!
Signed: Sheikh Arimiyawo Shaibu
Acting Chair, CODEO (for and on behalf of the Advisory Board)
Thursday, December 10, 2020