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STATEMENT BY THE SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS

We now know that we have an electoral slate of 31 candidates vying for nine seats in the Montserrat Legislative Assembly. There are two political Parties of nine candidates each, an Alliance of three and 10 Independents. This to my recollection is the largest number of persons to have contested General Elections in this island.

As you are now aware, the Ballot Paper contains the photographs of the candidates to assist you in identifying each candidate. By mutual agreement the pictures of the incumbent MCAP are presented against a yellow background, and those of PDM (People’s Democratic Movement) are against a red background. I had said elsewhere that all the others as Independent candidates would use a white or neutral background. There is somewhat of a change in this arrangement, in that three of those persons now appear in an Alliance using a green background. The other 10 will, however, be on a white ground. In all cases the photographs are for identification for all 31 candidates will appear on the ballot in alphabetical order based on surnames.

I say 31 based on my assumption that there will be no successful challenge to any of the nominations. In a sense the elections have begun with the nominations, but since we have more candidates than seats, we are adjourned until 11 September when we go to the polls at 7:00am and close at 6:00pm. Each voter then will be permitted to vote for nine persons to sit in the Legislative Assembly.

Let me take this opportunity to remind you of the voting requirements and process. The law requires that you bring some form of identification with you to the polling station where you will be asked to state your name address and occupation. This document could be a passport, driver’s licence or social security card. If you do not have any, another voter or the person presiding can vouch for the fact that you are the one whose name is on the Voters’ list and you will be allowed to vote.

Before giving you the Ballot the Presiding Officer (PO) will have the poll Clerk record the number which is on the back ballot and on the Counterfoil. This is an administrative requirement. He or she will then instruct you:

1. Vote by placing an “X” in the space provided opposite to the names of the Candidates for whom you wish to vote.

2. Return the Ballot to me folded so that I can see my Initials in the box at the top but NOT the names of the persons for whom you voted. The secrecy of your vote is sacred as far as we are concerned.

3. Mark your “X” using the black lead pencil provided in the booth.

4. The Presiding Officer will then take off the Counterfoil without opening the Ballot and place in box on the table through an aperture and the Poll clerk will enter “Voted” against your name in the poll book.

If by chance you make a mistake while marking your ballot you can return it to the PO who will write SPOILT across it, place it in an envelope and give you a fresh one.

Note also that provision is made for voters who are unable for whatever reason, to mark their ballots whether through poor eyesight or some infirmity. A friend can assist you if he or she is prepared to swear or affirm not to reveal for whom you voted.

Who are allowed in the polling station? The voters of course, the electoral officers, the agents of candidates who are not really allowed to take part in the proceedings except perhaps to raise objections to any seemingly illegal action, can be in the station. Candidates can enter to speak briefly with their agents, and are not allowed to canvas votes within 100 yards of the station. I expect their cooperation.

The Returning Officer and Supervisor can obviously enter and I have authorised the Governor to visit, as well as four Observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Let me emphasise that candidates are no longer allowed inside booth to see how someone who is incapacitated votes, unless one is doing so as a friend.

Counting this year takes place at the Cultural Centre and the nine candidates with the leading scores will be declared duly elected provided they have each secured at least six per cent of the votes cast, meaning the valid ballots.

Thank you for listening. These elections seem to be hotly, keenly and vigorously contested but there is no reason why contestants cannot be kind and even cordial to each other, treating one another with mutual respect. And supporters should calm down and avoid ugly scuffles and skirmishes which could sully the reputation of this most peaceful spot of earth.

Presented by

Howard A. Fergus
Supervisor of Elections, August, 2014.

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

We now know that we have an electoral slate of 31 candidates vying for nine seats in the Montserrat Legislative Assembly. There are two political Parties of nine candidates each, an Alliance of three and 10 Independents. This to my recollection is the largest number of persons to have contested General Elections in this island.

As you are now aware, the Ballot Paper contains the photographs of the candidates to assist you in identifying each candidate. By mutual agreement the pictures of the incumbent MCAP are presented against a yellow background, and those of PDM (People’s Democratic Movement) are against a red background. I had said elsewhere that all the others as Independent candidates would use a white or neutral background. There is somewhat of a change in this arrangement, in that three of those persons now appear in an Alliance using a green background. The other 10 will, however, be on a white ground. In all cases the photographs are for identification for all 31 candidates will appear on the ballot in alphabetical order based on surnames.

I say 31 based on my assumption that there will be no successful challenge to any of the nominations. In a sense the elections have begun with the nominations, but since we have more candidates than seats, we are adjourned until 11 September when we go to the polls at 7:00am and close at 6:00pm. Each voter then will be permitted to vote for nine persons to sit in the Legislative Assembly.

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Let me take this opportunity to remind you of the voting requirements and process. The law requires that you bring some form of identification with you to the polling station where you will be asked to state your name address and occupation. This document could be a passport, driver’s licence or social security card. If you do not have any, another voter or the person presiding can vouch for the fact that you are the one whose name is on the Voters’ list and you will be allowed to vote.

Before giving you the Ballot the Presiding Officer (PO) will have the poll Clerk record the number which is on the back ballot and on the Counterfoil. This is an administrative requirement. He or she will then instruct you:

1. Vote by placing an “X” in the space provided opposite to the names of the Candidates for whom you wish to vote.

2. Return the Ballot to me folded so that I can see my Initials in the box at the top but NOT the names of the persons for whom you voted. The secrecy of your vote is sacred as far as we are concerned.

3. Mark your “X” using the black lead pencil provided in the booth.

4. The Presiding Officer will then take off the Counterfoil without opening the Ballot and place in box on the table through an aperture and the Poll clerk will enter “Voted” against your name in the poll book.

If by chance you make a mistake while marking your ballot you can return it to the PO who will write SPOILT across it, place it in an envelope and give you a fresh one.

Note also that provision is made for voters who are unable for whatever reason, to mark their ballots whether through poor eyesight or some infirmity. A friend can assist you if he or she is prepared to swear or affirm not to reveal for whom you voted.

Who are allowed in the polling station? The voters of course, the electoral officers, the agents of candidates who are not really allowed to take part in the proceedings except perhaps to raise objections to any seemingly illegal action, can be in the station. Candidates can enter to speak briefly with their agents, and are not allowed to canvas votes within 100 yards of the station. I expect their cooperation.

The Returning Officer and Supervisor can obviously enter and I have authorised the Governor to visit, as well as four Observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Let me emphasise that candidates are no longer allowed inside booth to see how someone who is incapacitated votes, unless one is doing so as a friend.

Counting this year takes place at the Cultural Centre and the nine candidates with the leading scores will be declared duly elected provided they have each secured at least six per cent of the votes cast, meaning the valid ballots.

Thank you for listening. These elections seem to be hotly, keenly and vigorously contested but there is no reason why contestants cannot be kind and even cordial to each other, treating one another with mutual respect. And supporters should calm down and avoid ugly scuffles and skirmishes which could sully the reputation of this most peaceful spot of earth.

Presented by

Howard A. Fergus
Supervisor of Elections, August, 2014.