Supervisor Of Elections Needs High Tech

0

Due to the increase in voter numbers, it was suggested that the larger polling districts have at least two polling stations in order to better accommodate voters. The recommendation was made by Supervisor of Elections, Juliette Penn in the 2011 Elections report that was laid on the table of the House of Assembly on 12 February.

Ms. Penn said that the implementation of a second polling station in some of the Districts would help to reduce the long lines, and be less burdensome on the election workers.

It was stated that the polling divisions of concern are Sea Cows Bay, Road Town, Hunthums Ghut, West End, Baughers Bay, East End, Long Look, and The Valley.  The voters list of these stations, she said, can be divided alphabetically; for example, voters with surnames beginning with A-L would be assigned to the first polling station and voters with surnames beginning with M-Z would be assigned to the second polling station.
In recapping the activities of the 2011 general elections, the Supervisor stated that voting was overwhelming in all Districts throughout the entire day. “There were long lines at most polling stations, particularly the third, fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth districts. Additionally tents were erected at the third, fourth and eighth districts to accommodate the long lines,” she said.

In 2011, the polls opened at 6:00 am at all polling stations with the exception of the Third District. The Third District opened 6:30a.m due to an oversight in collecting some of the elections material from the Elections Office. There was also a problem with the keys to access the building. Despite the difficulty, the polls were able to close on time.

Anegada, was the only polling station that closed at 5:30 p.m, all other polls closed at 6:00 p.m. The early closing in Anegada was to accommodate air transportation of election officers and ballot boxes to Virgin Gorda.

It was reported that there was an increase in the number of candidates who contested seats for the 2011 General Elections when compared to the 2007 General Elections. A total of 43 candidates, 27 in the local electorate district and 16 in the Territorial electoral district were nominated on nomination day, 24 October  2011.

Recommendations

A number of recommendations were highlighted in the report by Ms. Penn. Among the suggestions was a request for a new office that included adequate storage and other security measures.

The Supervisor of Election suggested that new technology be introduced to process ballots cast in the local and Territorial districts. She announced that the Elections Act needs to be further amended and consolidated.

It was also stated that every effort should be made to ensure that amendments to the Act are concluded at least one year before general elections are constitutionally due. These amendments she said would give sufficient time to implement changes and train elections officers.
Ms. Penn also announced that provision should be made in the Elections Act for electronic tallying in addition to manual tallying which will provide for timely and accurate checks and balances as the tally sheet would be set up in spreadsheets with appropriate formulas.

Share.