The court ruled that presiding officer Veronica John, right, was wrong to refuse to take the ballot of voter Deryck Smart, left, amidst and allegation that he took a photo inside the polling station. (iWN photos)

There is no rule prohibiting a voter from taking a photograph of their ballot after casting their vote.

That was the finding of acting High Court judge Justice Stanley John, who ruled on, March 21, that a presiding officer was wrong to refuse a voter’s ballot amidst an allegation that she had seen a flash and heard the click of a camera.

The incident formed part of the petition filed by Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste, the opposition New Democratic Party’s (NDP) candidate for North Windward in the Dec. 9, 2015 general election.

The petition alleged that Veronica John, the presiding officer at polling station NWI, refused to allow voter Derrick Smart to deposit his ballot because she was of the view that he had taken a photograph of his ballot in the voting booth.

Smart denied taking a photograph.

In his ruling, Justice John said that the court was not being asked to determine whether Smart took a photograph.

“The question is whether or not the presiding officer was correct in what she did,” the judge said.

He said that the court had not found any rule that precludes a person from taking a photograph.

“It follows therefore that the presiding officer fell into error,” the judge ruled, adding that there was, however, no evidence that John acted deliberately or with a malicious intent.

“She was genuinely of the view that the taking of a photograph was not allowed in the voting booth. The court therefore adds the vote of Derrick Smart to the tally. Having done so, the result of the election is not affected,” the judge said.

In his ruling, Justice John dismissed the petition and upheld the election of Montgomery Daniel of the ruling Unity Labour Party.

Daniel defeated Baptiste by a margin of 2,713 votes to 2,390.

3 replies on “PETITIONS TRIAL: Court says taking photo of ballot is legal”

  1. C ben-David says:

    Even if it were illegal, cancelling this person’s vote because he photographed his own ballot would have still been an egregious assault on his constitutional right to vote, something the judge should have noted.

    1. I agree C. Ben. The only real reason I can see to take a photo of a person’s ballot is for it to be proof to show someone else how the voter voted. However, in this last election it has been demonstrated that the photos were used to show that the design of the ballot was changed. Why was the design of a perfectly functional ballot changed and those conducting the vote were not shown, trained or even notified? To me the reason is perfectly obvious however the judge in the petitions trial seemed to ignore it. What is your take on the change C. Ben? I do not think the usual Vincentian incompetence has anything to do with it, rather a brilliant method to “pad” the vote numbers, taken along with the fact that none of these votes in the ballot boxes will ever be allowed to be inspected.

      Why do you think the ballot design was suddenly changed and no one at the polling stations were notified or told where to put thier official mark, and afterwards knowingly, any inspection of these votes are strictly prohibited?

      1. C. ben-David says:

        Everything that went wrong, except Winston Gaymes’ wicked behavior, was based on sloth, ignorance, incompetence, indifference, and poor training.

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