Ghana’s presidential elections Wednesday started off surprisingly well, with voters lining up hours early at some polling places — using stones to save their place in line — and congratulations pouring in from the (real) U.S. Embassy in Ghana. Fears of election-day violence and confusion seemed misplaced. Then it all came apart. First, the electoral commission’s website was victim to a hack attempt. Also, an image circulating on Twitter said that the New Patriotic Party’s Nana Akufo-Addo had won the day, forcing the commission to frantically tweet for voters to ignore the fake news. Though votes were still being counted Thursday, the Akufo-Addo camp announced Thursday that, according to its tabulations, Akufo-Addo did in fact have a strong lead. They called for the incumbent, President John Mahama, who’s been in power since 2012, to concede. That didn’t sit well. Mahama’s camp called the calls for concession “treasonable.”
The electoral commission said it needs more time to finish counting all the votes and declare a winner. The NPP said Thursday that further delay might cause suspicion over the integrity of the election’s outcome — after all the candidates had promised to respect the process.
The Electoral Commission, meanwhile, went back to tweeting out provisional district by district election results.
It was an unhappy end to what looked like a promising development in Ghanaian democracy. The electoral commission got new leadership and sought to boost public trust. Faced with legal challenges over, among other things, the voter registry and voter registration process, the commission opted for transparency.