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Mar 14, 2001

Election & Boundaries Dept. holds open day

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While the two major political parties roll into high gear for the convention season and a fledgling third party seeks to find its wings, the nation’s official electoral machinery is being readied to facilitate the wishes of voters. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports that, like the Boy Scouts, the Elections and Boundaries Department adheres to the motto of “be prepared”.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The only time we hear about casting ballots is at election time, but gathering information on over one hundred thousand voters is a year round chore. And to inform the public about their purpose and function, the staff of the Elections and Boundaries Department held an open day at the Administration Building on Mahogany Street.

Myrtle Palacio, Chief Elections Officer

“Today continues our objective in voter education and voter awareness. It is one of functions as a department. We launched our voter education and voter awareness in 1999 of November and every year since then we have had a Voter’s Day to respect our electors. As I said it’s also part of our voter education and awareness. Besides our voter’s day we also go into schools.”

And the schools also go to the Elections and Boundaries Department. Primary and high school students from all over the city came by droves to learn a thing or two about the electoral process.

Gianny Chable, Student

“I learned that there are six council members and there is one chairperson.”

Richard Williams

“Cayo South is the biggest electoral division in the boundary.”

Jyoti Singh, Student

“I learned that the mayor and the councillors run the town and the city.”

Jose Sanchez

“What else did you learn?”

Jyoti Singh

“That there are more male electors than female electors in Cayo South.”

Registering Officer for Collet, Lake Independence, and Mesopotamia, Franciso Zuniga, says that there is a procedure that is followed before one can vote.

Francisco Zuniga, Registering Officer

“He or she must be a registered elector. That means the person must have gone to one of the registration office to apply to be registered. The person must either have a birth certificate, a passport, or a Belizean Naturalization Certificate. And the person must also attain the age of eighteen years to qualify and be residing at the given address for two months. When that person meets all the requirements, the application will be accepted. After certain investigations are made to determine whether the information he or she has given is true, then the person will be qualified after the date has been published… because there is a supplementary list and after that, that is taken for revision. Whenever that is passed and signed by the revising officer, then the person can receive his or her ID card.”

Many of the kids will not be old enough to vote for years to come but they are aware that at least on one day every five years the people rule at the ballot box. Reporting for News 5, Jose Sanchez.

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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