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Jul 10, 2015

Chief Elections Officer Comments on Bye-election Process

On Wednesday, Frank ‘Papa” Mena was victorious by a significant margin in bye-elections held in Dangriga Town, Hope Creek and Sarawee. Even more than the numbers, the political muscle on the ground from both parties has received much scrutiny. The P.U.P., at least outside the voting area, put on a good show, but when ballots were counted and results released at around nine Wednesday night, the results did not exactly reflect the muscle. We’ve gotten comments from both sides on Election Day machinery, but in every election there is other machinery at work which is critical. We’re talking about the election officials who work from before the polls open to long after the final ballot is counted. Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai says that they’ve been streamlining the process, which accounts for the very early announcement of final figures. 

 

Josephine Tamai

Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer

“We had our machinery up and running. I am sure that the public utilized our website to get the information in terms of the voter turnout and we had that information very early at the end of every hour. So I am certain that persons out there do appreciate what we do because sometimes people don’t realize what we have behind the scenes to get all these things done. But we’re here for the public and we want to ensure that as a department we improve every time as we go along. What we did to ensure that this election was more successful than the other elections in terms of getting the results out very early – what we did this time around was to have the presiding officers and the poll clerks do counting as well, because we realized that the time for reconciliation handing over to another person does take time and we know the public wants to get the information. They want to have the results early, so what we decided to do – I know it was a lot of public officers and I want to extend my gratitude to those public officers. They worked very hard to ensure that this process went fairly well and also, like I mentioned, those persons assisted – we brought in one new person so that we could have a fresh eye at each of the desks to ensure that counting and reconciliation and everything would go very smoothly and effectively and accurately.”

 

While traditionally counting would start at eight o’clock, Tamai says that all parties agreed to have the counting start as soon as the boxes were brought into the counting station.

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