A ballot box at a polling station in Central Leeward remained unsealed during voting, the National Monitoring and Consultative Mechanism (NMCM) said in its report on the Dec. 9 general elections.
“The two Monitors noted that on their visits to Polling Station I1 in Central Leeward the box was not sealed during the day as the Presiding Officer noted that she only got six seals and had to use them at the close of the Polls,” the report said.
Polling Sation I1 is located at the Pentecostal Church Hall in Keartons
The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) is alleging that a large number of irregularities in Central Leeward affected the outcome of the vote in that constituency and, by extension, the general elections and is challenging the results in court.
The Unity Labour Party (ULP) won the elections by taking eight of the 15 seats, while the remaining seven went to the NDP, a repeat of the December 2010 election results.
The NMCM noted in its report that following the preliminary count at the close of the polls, it was alleged that in Central Leeward the election was not won by the ULP, as indicated by the preliminary results published by the Electoral Office, but by the NDP candidate.
It said this caused confusion at the Police Station where the final count was to be done.
However, after the final count, the results remained the same in favour of the ULP, the NMCM said, noting that it did not observe the final count.
Commenting general on activities on election day, the NMCM said that monitors reported that all polling stations, with the exception of Polling Station F in Bequia, began promptly as 7 a.m.
“While some presiding officers displayed a higher level of competence and exhibited a clearer understanding of their roles and responsibilities and the electoral process they all carried out their jobs in a professional manner.
“Based on the observations of the monitors in their visits to polling stations and based on the reports they received at the polling stations visited, it can be concluded that the voting process was conducted in a transparent manner and free from interference,” the NMCM said.
It said polling stations were more adequate and user-friendly than in previous years and this enhanced the process, allowing for a more transparent voting process and privacy.
“Many were in more spacious accommodation which allowed for privacy of the vote while others made provision for the use wheel chairs.
“While the secrecy of the vote was respected, there were inconsistencies in the way the ballot paper was folded which at times compromised the secrecy of the vote,” the NMCM said.
It said that its monitors indicated that they were fully accommodated by presiding officers except in one case Polling Station B1 in Owia in North Windward, “where the monitor was denied entry by the presiding officer as she indicated that only regional and international monitors were allowed.
“This situation was rectified following the intervention of the returning officer for the constituency,” the NMCM said.
It said all monitors observed the opening and closing of a polling station and noted that all procedures were strictly followed.
“Procedure for counting of votes, recording results, packing and sealing of ballots were all done as required,” the NMCM said.
The report has not been released to the media but iWitness News was able to obtain a copy.