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Feb 20, 2018

Rejected Vs Spoilt Ballots – What’s the Difference?

Josephine Tamai

Except for Belize City where voters are casting their vote for ten councilors and a mayor, in the Capital Belmopan and the remaining municipalities, it is six councilor candidates and one mayoral to each. Chief Elections Officer Tamai reminds that voting for more than the available seats will cause the ballot to be rejected as will voting for more than one mayor. But what’s the difference between a spoilt and a rejected ballot? Tamai says either happens at a polling or counting station. 

 

Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer

“In terms of a spoilt ballot, what a person needs to understand is that as a voter, if you go into a polling station, you go behind the polling booth and you make an error while casting your votes, you can take that ballot paper, return it to the presiding officer who will mark cancel on that ballot paper, put it in that envelope that is prescribed for the spoilt ballot papers and reissue another ballot paper. I mentioned that that ballot paper goes into an envelope; it does not go into the ballot box, so it is not counted and that happens during polling. A rejected ballot now happens when there is counting. So a rejected ballot now happens when there is counting. So a rejected ballot is a paper that goes into the ballot box, but it is rejected probably because it isn’t marked for any candidate, maybe you vote for more candidates that there are seats; if persons write their name to indicate who that person is on the ballot paper, then again that ballot paper is rejected. So those things are considered a rejected ballot paper, but rejected happens at counting. So there is a distinct difference—spoilt during the polling, rejected at counting.”

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