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UPDATE: Govt will implement 'most' of Observers recommendations – Premier Smith

- said Gov't will read the report & take it seriously
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith said that Government will be taking seriously the recommendations of the Commonwealth Elections Observer Mission on the June 8, 2015 general elections. Photo: VINO
The Commonwealth Elections Observer Mission here for the June 8, 2015 general elections have noted their contention with what they saw as the need to even up the playing field when it comes to access to air and television time and for the streamlining of the voting and counting process. Photo: VINO
The Commonwealth Elections Observer Mission here for the June 8, 2015 general elections have noted their contention with what they saw as the need to even up the playing field when it comes to access to air and television time and for the streamlining of the voting and counting process. Photo: VINO
The counting process underway following the end of the voting process. Photo: VINO/File
The counting process underway following the end of the voting process. Photo: VINO/File
Lines were long at some polling places on election day. Photo: VINO/File
Lines were long at some polling places on election day. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith said Government will be taking seriously the recommendations of the Commonwealth Elections Observer Mission on the June 8, 2015 general elections.

He was responding to questions by this news site at a BVI Finance cocktail held at the Cutlass Towers in Road Town yesterday September 16, 2015.

The Commonwealth Elections Observer Mission released its Final Report on the elections and made a number of recommendations, including putting in place a full Elections Commission and regulating campaign financing and making changes to the way votes are counted and verified.

"We were very happy and comfortable that the Observers came to see our elections in the BVI. As I understand it they were generally satisfied with how the elections were conducted," said Premier Smith.

"We will certainly read the report and take it very seriously and I'm sure we will be putting into place most of the recommendations," he said. "I have not as yet gone through the report but I will be (going through it)."

Pointing to one of the main recommendations with regards to the Elections Commission, Premier Smith said that this is something Government intends to take seriously and Cabinet will engage in discussions on this and the other recommendations made in the report.

However, when asked for a timeline, Premier Smith said the chances of the recommendations being dealt with during this year are slim to none.

"The elections have just taken place so there will be some time before the next election, but we will deal with them with some manner of urgency," he said.

See previous article published on September 15, 2015:

Election observers recommend faster counting process, equitable media access

- also point to changes needed in voter process with regard to alphabetical order of names

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The Commonwealth Elections Observer Mission here for the June 8, 2015 general elections have noted their contention with what they saw as the need to even up the playing field when it comes to access to air and television time and for the streamlining of the voting and counting process.

According to the Mission’s Final Report released last week, they recommend the creation of a media watchdog to establish and enforce regulations that evenly distribute air and television time, as well as space in print media, “to guarantee that all parties and candidates have equal access to and balanced coverage by the media to the public.”

With regards to voting, the report recommended that as required by the voting procedures, Poll Clerks should consistently ask voters to confirm their names and addresses, even when identification is provided.

“The intention of creating voter registration cards should proceed and be in place before the next election, alongside a rigorous voter education programme,” said the Final Report.

Laborious

It called for the quickening of the “laborious” process of registering each voter by having the Poll Clerk handwriting each voter’s name, address and occupation in the poll book (as reflected in the voter list). “Simply drawing a red line through the voter’s name on the voter list to indicate the person has voted (and to avoid duplicate voting) would be more efficient and reduce queues,” the report said.

The observers found that those stations which predominantly distributed both (district and territorial) ballots papers together were much quicker at processing voters and therefore had shorter or no queues.

“It is recommended that Presiding Officers always give both ballots simultaneously to the voter, unless there is an exceptional situation where that would be detrimental to the voter or potentially undermine their voting intention. Colour of the differing ballot papers should be altered as some voters indicated a difficulty in reading the text on darker coloured paper,” the report said.

They noted that for the larger polling stations that were divided into two, the voter list should be divided in half or a third by the amount of people and subsequently divided alphabetically “and not necessarily by ‘A-M’ and ‘N-Z’, as ‘A-M’ tended to have much longer queues.”

Proxy voting

The report said that for those voters who live, work or study abroad and are unable to return to cast their ballots in an election, an option, such as proxy or postal voting, with the required safeguards, should be explored to ensure the maximum enfranchisement of the electorate.

“Consideration should be given for voters themselves to be able to place their own ballot paper in the ballot box and should not (unless support is required for incapacity reasons) be obliged to hand it to the Presiding Officer to do so on their behalf, which might compromise the secrecy of the ballot,” the report said, noting that this would also save time in the voting process.

Counting

The Observer Mission said that to speed up the counting process, rather than have one official read out the individual name(s) of candidates on each ballot paper and then show each ballot to everyone seated round the table, polling station staff (at district level) or counting staff (at territorial level) should be divided into teams to sort and count the ballots by candidate, with party agents having clear access to the counting tables and visibility of the counting process.

“To avoid a delay in starting the territorial counting process, it should commence as soon as the first boxes arrive from the districts and continue on a rolling basis until finalised,” it said. This is in wake of the countless hours it took before the territorial votes could commence being counted.

Speaking with this news site days ago, Supervisor of Elections Juliette Penn said that the Government will be the ones to take any action in light of the report’s recommendations.

20 Responses to “UPDATE: Govt will implement 'most' of Observers recommendations – Premier Smith”

  • ................... (15/09/2015, 08:46) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
    well they said what we done know NDP buy the elections
  • LOL (15/09/2015, 08:58) Like (10) Dislike (3) Reply
    Nothing about the corruption and payments.

    Nothing about the ministers being at polling stations.

    INCREDIBLE! For a little kick back everyone willing to turn a blind eye!
    • farmer brown (15/09/2015, 23:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Who cares about the issues or the most coherent policy idea?
    • Hmm (16/09/2015, 09:15) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      Educate yourself before commenting FOLLY! After the house of assembly resolves, there are no "ministers" in place, hence the reason why they have to be sworn back in after the election. Secondly, all candidates are ALLOWED to visit their district's polling station(s) to observe. SMH, the ignorance is on such a shameful, HIGH level these days.
  • ccc (15/09/2015, 09:54) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hope other partys start getting ready for the next elections
    • wize up (17/09/2015, 21:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ CCC; will there be a VIP( Vision Impaired Politicians) come 2019:
  • Counting Officer (15/09/2015, 10:15) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    These are some very good recommendations, especially in the case of the start time for counting territorial votes. Too much time is wasted waiting on some of the boxes to arrive
  • dutty ole wife (15/09/2015, 12:01) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Keep all forms of electronics OUT of our vote counting procedure please! These electronic devices transmit wireless signals that any person privy to hacking can retrieve data and ultimately manipulate through code or even remotely access the systems. We need to show some backbone and have some pride, as far as im concerned our counters need to get in shape for counti once every 4 years. This is our COUNTRY'S future we talking about. There are several reports on the faulty use of E-Voting, where as hundreds of votes would randomly go missing.

    Please see here on report by the Guardian UK
    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2009/apr/30/e-voting-electronic-polling-systems

    Also see why Then California's Secretary of State Debra Bowen pulled the plug on Electronic-Voting
    http://www.govtech.com/e-government/Why-California-Secretary-of-State-Debra.html
  • JACK BE STILL (15/09/2015, 16:22) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    Come on get over the elections 4 years of ndp
  • Well Sah (17/09/2015, 08:49) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    You do not have a choice. Please get your head out of the sand!
  • one eye (17/09/2015, 09:40) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    We will be fools to belive doc
  • Well (17/09/2015, 12:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    There are other things to be made public as well. Information is not your home business.
  • cay (17/09/2015, 12:46) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    look he face
  • wize up (17/09/2015, 21:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    just a question: how long we been having elections in the territory because one might think our first election was in 2015( just saying)......
  • Curious (18/09/2015, 01:03) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why implement most and not all? Will the premier pick and choose from the batch? Let the people decide if he is going to do what he wants.
  • wow (18/09/2015, 01:08) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    We want honesty. Let the people choose. That is our right. Do not implement just what you feel is favorable to your government. Time foe the game to change.
  • Solui (19/09/2015, 11:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Will it be most? Please tell us which ones. Can any of them be implemented now?
  • voter (20/09/2015, 20:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Didn't the Governor say that he expect the government to adhere to all suggestions made by the observers, but the Premier is saying 'most'. Is the Premier over the Governor or has the Governor changed his views?


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