Shortage of polling stations in Vila’s urban periphery on eve of election

The Government, like Willie Jimmy in our earlier post, seems to have shot itself in the foot by selling its last polling station in the Efate rural area in the Teouma area, namely Vila City College. This was where Teoumaville constituents of Port Vila electorate voted previously. This morning, they were advised by radio message they must now vote in private premises near the Teouma River.

Acting Principal Electoral Officer Lionel Kaluat, told Radio Vanuatu News at lunchtime today that he wants to see counting proceed quickly. When ballot boxes are received for any one constituency, the counting will begin immediately, he says. However, as we understand it, the counting actually takes place at each polling station in the presence of the voters as specified in the Representation of the People Act [Cap 146]. The Act says;

15. Members of public to be admitted to observe count

A returning officer shall allow as many members of the public to observe a count as can do so without hindering counting.

16. Counting of votes (1) Immediately a poll is closed the returning officer shall administer the counting of the votes which shall be done by –(a) opening the ballot box or boxes; (b) the returning officer removing all envelopes from each box; (c) the returning officer taking the ballot papers from the envelopes; (d) the returning officer reading out the name on each ballot paper;  (e) the polling clerks recording the number of votes cast for each candidate on 2 tally sheets provided for that purpose.

We wish you a happy voting day tomorrow —  we hope that the nation votes with wisdom for better representation in the national nakamal.