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Feb 24, 2012

2 elections one day; voter process explained

The 2012 elections are twelve days away and campaign gear can be seen on the streets and on the television. The songs, ads, speeches, and hundreds of promises in party manifestos will disappear along with most politicians the day after the March seventh double elections. The first double election was in 2003 and the Elections and Boundaries Department believes it is well prepared for this one. There are one hundred and seventy-eight thousand, fifty-four registered voters for the General election and ninety-seven thousand, nine hundred and seventy-nine for the municipal election. In Belize City at the municipal level, voters will choose one mayor and ten councilors while in Belmopan and Towns, voters will choose one mayor and six councilors. It is a daunting task for the department, considering that there are thirty-one constituencies with sixty-two candidates for the red and blue as well as independent and third party candidates to choose from at the national level. But the Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai believes that you won’t need to wait until daybreak the following day for the count to be finished. Tamai explains the process that voters must follow on March seventh.

Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer

Josephine Tamai

“For those who will be voting in a double election, the voting will be happening for the general election first. The person will go into room; he or she will proceed to the poll clerk who will verify his or her information. Once that information has been verified by the poll clerk, then the voter will be sent to the presiding officer. The presiding officer will ask the voter to show his or her right index finger to ensure it hasn’t been marked in any way. Once the presiding officer is satisfied, then he or she will ask the voter to dip his or her right index finger to first joint in indelible violet ink. Once that has been done, the voter will be issued a ballot paper by the presiding officer, whereby the presiding officer will then direct the voter to voting booth to mark the X for the candidate who the voter wishes to vote for. Once the X has been marked then that voter will fold the ballot paper to conceal his or her vote but at the same time ensure that the initials of the presiding officer is shown to the presiding officer before they place it in the ballot box for the general elections. In the same classroom now, this person will proceed to the presiding officer for the municipal elections and the same process will go through where the information will be verified. But this time, the presiding officer will ensure that the person does not have any mark on his or her left middle finger. When that has been verified, the person will be asked to dip the left middle finger up to first joint in indelible ink but this time, the color will be rose ink. And again the process continues where he or she is issued with the ballot paper again initialed by the presiding officer. They proceed to the voting booth; mark the X for the candidate or candidates whom he or she wishes to vote for.”

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