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Forgetful presiding officer delays voting in PAP constituency

Monday, September 7, 2015

Voting in the Point a Pierre constituency got off to a late start in at least two polling divisions at Claxton Bay and Pointe-a-Pierre.

The United National Congress candidate David Lee said he had information that ballot box keys were not available to facilitate the opening of  the polls at the Pointe-a-Pierre Government Special School at the stipulated time of 6 am, because the ballot box keys were not available  In another instance, the presiding officer reportedly left the ballot box key at home, delaying the opening of the polling station at Union Claxton Bay Secondary School, until 6.30 am.

Lee, who cast his ballot at the Maple Leaf International School, said his legal team, led by his election agent Nyree Alfonso, has written to the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) chairman Dr Norbert Masson about the delay at polling division 3305 at Union Claxton Bay Secondary School and polling division 3320 at the Pointe-a-Pierre Government Special School.

He said it was his understanding that, “ballot box keys were not available to facilitate the opening of the polls at those polling stations until 6.05 am.”

The letter also referred to the late start to voting at  the Union Claxton Bay Secondary School, which did not open until 6.30 am because “the presiding officer had reportedly left the ballot box key at home.” 

Apart from these these incidents, Lee said voting went smoothly and turnout was high. He also expressed confidence in the process and his chances of being elected.

People’s National Movement (PNM) candidate, businessman Neil Mohammed, said he has been monitoring the process from the opening of the polls said while there were “little hiccups” things went smoothly. 

“The general sense of optimism has been there from the beginning and that has only been growing as we got closer and closer to the election day. I am very upbeat, I am very confident and the way I hear things are going I expect that we will get a positive result this evening.

“Our election machinery is working well, I have been out there. Everything seems to be working well and we seem to have a very high voter turn out so far.”

There were reports that four police officers attempted to vote at a polling division in the St Margarets Anglican Primary School as special voters, but they were turned away. 

However, for first-time voter Joy Daniel, 18, of Marabella, the voting process was a breeze.  She described her experience as “frightening” as she admitted that she was nervous when she cast her ballot at the Marabella South Secondary School,.

“It was a great experience. I am a first time voter so I was thinking ‘I hope I do not mess up.’ It was frightening and I was nervous. I did not want to mess up, but there were people there helping me along the way.

“I am so excited to be part of this historic experience,” she said proudly displaying her ink stained index finger.


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