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Chief Election Officer responds to Opposition Leader’s request for an investigation into “special ballot irregularities”
Fern Narcis-Scope, the Chief Election Officer at the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has officially responded to a request made by the Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar for an investigation into “special ballot irregularities”.
In her response to the Opposition Leader, Narcis-Scope explained that there was no provision in the Election Rules for the sealing of ballot boxes at special polling stations established by the Commission, in accordance with Election Rule 76 of the Representation of the People Act, Chap. 2:01. Narcis-Scope advised that it had become the practice for Special Presiding Officers to use ballot boxes to transport the sealed envelopes but there is no requirement in law, to either use ballot boxes or to seal them. The broken seals were, in fact part of a previous process utilized at the Special Polling Station and was in no way part of the process being witnessed at Queen’s Hall.
Narcis-Scope added that her investigations revealed that as required by law, all the special envelopes were sealed by the Special Presiding Officer and for matters of safety and security in the transportation, all boxes were locked. Further, at the sorting exercise at Queen’s Hall, all the special envelopes were displayed as being sealed and intact. Narcis-Scope noted that the fact that two (2) ballot boxes were not sealed does not impact the outcome of the election in any given electoral district as suggested by the Opposition Leader.
In the second complaint made by the Opposition Leader that the ballots cast at the Sangre Grande Police Station were not packaged according to the standard procedure so that the names of some electors could be viewed by the EBC staff who were responsible for sorting the votes and sending them to the respective Electoral Districts.
Narcis-Scope said her investigations revealed that the eleven (11) covering envelopes with the declaration of identity of the special electors as required by Election Rule 71 were placed in the ballot box at that location, which was then locked and sealed. A proper record was kept of the districts that the ballots were cast for via a Statement of the Contents of the Special Ballot Box in accordance with Election Rule 84 (2) and was duly signed by the Special Presiding Officer. This Statement was also shown to witnesses present at the sorting exercise.
In closing, the Chief Election Officer noted that it was regrettable that notwithstanding the training provided there was a deviation from the approved procedure, this deviation however, did not compromise the integrity of the process as all staff of the Commission designated to participate in special poll proceedings are required to take declarations of secrecy and further, the identity of persons who have cast their ballots is an essential component of the electoral process.
The Chief Election Officer received an official letter from the Opposition Leader calling for an investigation into the aforementioned claims on Sunday 13th August, 2023. These claims were made by members of the UNC, who were invited to witness the sorting of special envelopes for the 2023 Local Government Elections at 1:00 p.m. on Friday 11th August, 2023 at the Helen May Johnstone Conference Room, Queen’s Hall.
August 13, 2023
Many of you may be seasoned voters, but many will be voting for the very first time in these Local Government Elections. We want you to know voting is easy, simple and safe.
The Elections and Boundaries Commission has prepared this informative feature to guide you through the voting process on Election Day. You can view our video, To Vote is Simple here.
If you didn’t receive your poll card in the mail and you are on the Revised List of Electors… YOU CAN STILL VOTE! If you don’t have a valid ID card but your name is on the Revised List of Electors…. YOU CAN STILL VOTE!
TO VOTE IS YOUR RIGHT…. EXERCISE IT!
A messge from the Elections and Boundaries Commission… your Partners in Democracy
August 10, 2023
The Elections and Boundaries Commission is advising all political parties, candidates contesting the 2023 Local Government Elections, electors and all other democratic stakeholders to respect the laws or face the consequences.
Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. We have itemized for you in the flyers below, the list of election offences. Please be guided on the dos and don’ts, with respect to the law on Election Day.
August 9, 2023
The Elections and Boundaries Commission wishes to bring to the attention of all employers, the provisions relating to Time-Off for Voting as stipulated in law.
In accordance with Election Rule 28of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 2:01, every employer shall permist each elector in his employment to be absent from his work on polling day during the hours of the poll for two hours in addition to the normal midday meal hour.
The contents of the full Notice can be found here:
August 8, 2023
Voting starts today, Monday 7th August 2023, for persons who have previously applied to be treated as Special Electors for the 2023 Local Government Elections.
In accordance with Election Rule 60 (2) a special elector must cast the ballot in the manner and at the time and place fixed for casting of votes of special electors. Special Electors are only eligible to vote during the periods stated below and cannot vote on poll day. These persons are eligible to vote at Special Polling Stations established by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) at the office of the Returning Officer in the electoral district where they are registered. These polling stations will operate daily from Monday 7th to Sunday 13th August 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The full Press Release can be found here:
August 7, 2023
Additional Special Polling Stations established by the Commission for the 2023 Local Government Elections
Persuant to Election Rule 76 of the Representation of the People Act, Chap. 2:01, additional Special Polling Stations have been established by the Elections and Boundaries Commission to facilitate Special Electors for the Local Government Elections on Monday 14th August, 2023.
The locations, days and hours of operation of these additional Special Polling Stations can be found here:
August 4, 2023
The public is advised that Special Polling Stations established by Returning Officers in accordance with Election Rule 73(1) of the Representation ofthe People Act, Chap. 2:01, for the Local Government Elections, will function from Monday 7th to Sunday 13th August, 2023 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily.
These Special Polling Stations are to serve only those electors, who are registered in the electoral district for which the Returning Officer is responsible.
The names and addresses of these Returning Officers and the Electoral Districts for which they are responsible are listed hereunder:
Persons who applied to be treated as Special Electors for the Local Government Elections on Monday 14th August, 2023 are advised that they can collect their envelopes at the Registration Area Offices as specified on their application forms.
Envelopes can be collected at Registration Area Offices from Wednesday 2nd to Friday 11th August, 2023 during the period indicated hereunder:
Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
July 31, 2023
Notice of Taking a Poll- Listing of Candidates and Polling Stations for the 2023 Local Government Elections
Election Rule 16 of the Representation of the People Act, Chap. 2:01 says that during an election, as soon as it is practicable after Nomination Day, Returning Officers must give notice of the following:
- The day on which and the hours during which the poll will be taken;
- The location of each polling station; and
- The name and address and occupation of each candidate nominated for election as given in his/her nomination paper, and the symbol assigned.
This notification to the public is published in at least one newspaper. These notices are in the form, set out as Form No. 46 in the Prescribed Form Rules. Every electoral district will therefore have a Form No. 46 and it is posted in the office of Returning Officer for the respective electoral districts and at such other places in the respective electoral districts that are deemed necessary by the Returning Officers.
For your ease of reference, the Notice of Taking a Poll (Form No. 46) for the one hundred and forty-one electoral districts in these Local Government Elections is listed hereunder:
July 24, 2023
The EBC has been made aware that persons, purporting to be working with the Commission have been canvassing in the areas of D’Abadie and La Florissante. These persons have been enquiring from residents if they will be voting and whether they require transportation on Election Day. When asked by residents to produce EBC identification, they claimed not to have received said identification badges as yet.
Whilst the EBC is currently engaged in its National Field Verification Exercise and is encouraging the public to co-operate with its field officers, who are currently working in these areas, the EBC denies that any of its staff or persons working with the Commission at this time are engaged in this reprehensible activity. The EBC reminds the public to be careful with their private information in these perilous times and not to engage anyone who does not have bona fide EBC identification and approaches them without EBC branded gear. The Commission also encourages the public to request EBC identification from anyone claiming to be working on its behalf.
The EBC also advises the public to report any incident to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, if approached by any person, who claims to be working with the EBC and cannot so prove.
For further information please contact the Corporate Communications Unit at 625-5924 or firstname.lastname@example.org
July 21, 2023
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