Ms. Juliette Penn Supervisor of Elections announced that all systems are “go” for the 25 February general elections and she has explained that the new electronic system has mechanisms in place to prevent voter fraud and human error.
This month the House of Assembly passed the “Elections (Amendment) Act, 2019” which makes provision for the use the use of the DS 200 Precinct Scanner and Tabulator as well as e-poll books that were publicly tested in September during the mock elections that were held. Now that elections are just days away the Supervisor of Elections in a government interview posted on 27 January explained that among the new e-poll books offer a sure way of preventing double voting.
Penn explained that the entire District would be on the e-poll books and this would ensure that people are who they say they are. “We would swipe your card and the information will come up on the e-poll book.” This she said will allow the elections officer to know right away that this is X. “So if someone comes with a card and we swipe it and you don’t resemble the image that we have there. We will ask you some questions and if you can’t answer those questions then we know it is not you.”
As it relates to double voting the Supervisor of Elections said that there would be alert mechanisms that would notify of any case of double voting: “If you have voted in one District at one polling station that information will be relayed to all the other polling stations. Once you go to another polling station and you try to vote again it would come up saying you have already voted. That is the improvement that we have with the e-poll books. Whereas with the ordinary poll books you just write your name and you go ahead and you vote and that’s it.”
During the debate of the Elections (Amendment) Act, 2019 legislators stated that residents were concerned about the electronic features being used in this election and complained that they were not comfortable with not using paper voting.
However, Penn explained that paper voting as well as voting without the voter’s card will be accommodated. “If you don’t have the card it does not mean that you will not be able to vote. If you don’t have the card, you would be required to bring any other government issued ID. For instance, your passport, your NHI card, driver’s licence and if you don’t have any of those you will be required to take an oath at the polling station and they would give you a ballot.”
The Supervisor of Elections stressed that there will be a paper ballot. “You are going to get your paper ballot as usual. Go into the booth and we are encouraging persons to shade across from the name of the person they wish to vote for. To shade that area and when you have shade that area and insert it into the tabulating machine,” she instructed.
It was noted that both the District and Territorial candidates will be on the same ballot. “Everyone will get one ballot, you won’t have to go in with the District and then come out and then go back in with the Territorial. When you are given a ballot, you will be given one ballot and you will make all your choices at the same time and then insert them into the machine,” the Supervisor of Election stated.