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Feb 26, 2003

Voting challenges postponed to Friday

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The Elections and Boundaries Department reports that as of January 2003, there were one hundred and seventeen thousand, four hundred and fifteen persons who are eligible to vote on March fifth. However, with only one week to go before the general and municipal elections, there are still some applicants who do not know if they will be able to cast their vote. Today those legal questions were supposed to be resolved. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods was at the courthouse where she spoke to attorney Dean Lindo.

Dean Lindo, Attorney

“The whole idea of it is to make sure that a person who wants to put his name on the voters list because it is a right you know… to go on the voters list you have to check to see that they qualify. For example that he is a Belizean, he has the correct age and the address he says, he lives. Now the objections are usually, though not limited, to residents because quite often you find people register, you know for whatever reason, they want to put them in a certain constituency, they go and register at a friend’s home, the friend covers. But then you say I have checked that place, that person doesn’t live there and therefore he does not qualify to register at the new address. So what happens, he doesn’t lose his vote, but is left at whatever address he was first. Now if he wasn’t registered before, then he has some problems.”

The political parties had until 5:00 Tuesday evening to submit their objections to the Elections and Boundaries Department. This morning those cases were presented at the review of the voters list held at the Magistrate’s Court. But as explained by Chief Magistrate Herbert Lord, while February twenty-sixth to the twenty-eight are the three days set to hear objections, because a list of those names must first be published in the gazette and newspapers before the court can make any decision, those objections will not be heard until Friday. A total of forty-seven objections in five electoral divisions have been made. There are thirteen objections in Queen Square, twelve in Pickstock, fourteen in Caribbean Shores, six in Belize Rural North, and in Belize Rural South two objections. Chief Magistrate Lord did reassure the gathering that the work will be completed and all persons will know by Monday whether or not they will be allowed to vote.

Dean Lindo

“Well he has to complete it because they have to be ready in time, they have to be published and that kind of thing to become a part of the list. And that is why he said they will be working until late. And he says that if he has to bring in other courts, normally he does all, number one court does all, but this time because of the press of time, he will bring in two other courts if he needs to.”

Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

While we do not have the total number of objections that may have been made in other districts, we have been reliably informed that no objections were made in either Toledo or Stann Creek. In related news, the Elections and Boundaries Commission is appealing to Belizeans to cooperate with the voter registration and election process. In a press release sent by the commission, an investigation conducted in the past week has revealed that from the period of January eleventh to February tenth, 2003, there were several cases of false statements made by applicants to obtain registration. False statements in registration occur when a person knowingly makes a false statement during the registration process for the purpose of being registered as an elector. The Commission further states that certain persons applied for registration a second time within the same month. This action is illegal and as a result the second registration will be disallowed as such persons are only permitted to remain on the voters list once.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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