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Local Government Elections 2013

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OPERATIONS OF THE E&BC
 
 
The Registration Process
 
Registration as an elector is an indispensable requirement for voting in Parliamentary, Local Government and Tobago House of Assembly elections. Such registration is voluntary and there are no sanctions for failure to register. However if you are not a registered person in accordance with the provisions of the Representation of the People Act Chap. 2:01, you will not be able to exercise your franchise. You will therefore not be a partner in democracy. The Registration Rules of this piece of legislation lay down the process for registration.
 

Registrant being photographed
                                                           
System of Registration
 
The system of registration is described as permanent and personal. It is permanent in that once registered, the registration remains in force, subject to adjustment, e.g. change of name and/or address or unless there is valid cause for cancellation on the grounds of death or migration.
It should be noted, however, that the system itself may undergo change from time to time, and in such circumstances, the Commission may request all registered persons to re-register or to update their registration.
 
The system is personal in that a prospective registrant must apply in person to the Registration Officer at one of the Commission’s Registration Area Office. No person can apply for registration on behalf of another person.
 
The system also provides for the issue of a National Identification (ID) Card to a registrant as part of the process of registration. Identification Cards are issued in three (3) colours:
 
Blue lettering and background           -        Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago
Red lettering and background            -        Citizens of Commonwealth countries
Orange lettering and background      -        Citizens of non-commonwealth countries
 
Persons of age eighteen or more at the time of registration have their names included in the Commission’s register of electors. Persons of age fifteen but less than eighteen are entitled to be registered but their names are excluded from the list of electors. However they are entitled to receive ID cards.

Registration Officers assist registrants


Registration Areas of Trinidad and Tobago
 


Facilities for Conducting Registration

 
(i) Establishment of Registration Areas/Polling Divisions
 
For the purpose of registration, Trinidad and Tobago is at present divided into nineteen (19) registration areas. These are divided into smaller units known as polling divisions to enable the registration process to be managed more effectively. In delineating the boundaries of polling divisions, due consideration is given to ensuring as far as possible that communities are not divided. As a consequence, the size of the electorate of polling divisions varies. Maps of registration areas showing the polling divisions into which each registration area is divided are prepared for use during the registration process. These are required by law and serve as aids to field investigators. Such maps are displayed in the respective registration area offices and sub-offices.
 
Polling Divisions are assigned distinguishing numbers by a system that uses progressions of five (5), i.e. Polling division No. 0005, 0010, etc. This system facilitates the numbering of new polling divisions which may be created where the size of the electorate of a polling division becomes too large to be managed effectively. A newly created polling division is assigned a number between the progression. For example, should the electorate of polling division 0005 become too large, the polling division is sub-divided and the newly created polling division is assigned the number 0006.
 
(ii) Establishment of Registration Offices and Sub-Offices
 
To service the nineteen (19) registration areas, fifteen (15) registration area offices and six (6) sub-offices have been established. Each registration office is staffed based on the size of the electorate of the registration area which it serves, and is headed by a Registration Officer.
 

Roxborough Sub-Office – Tobago
 
(iii) Registration Process
 
An applicant for registration, for which persons of the age of fifteen years and over are eligible, must make application in person at the Registration Area Office for the district in which he resides. Once satisfied that the applicant qualifies to be registered, the Registering Officer will proceed to record the data obtained from the registrant on a legal form described as the Registration Record. On completion, the registrant is requested to read over the contents, in order to confirm the accuracy of the data recorded.
 

Field Investigating Officers examining data cards
On being registered, a person is placed in a polling division or registration unit, one of the smaller units into which a registration area is divided for administrative purposes. Each polling division is identified by a four digit number assigned by the Commission and plays a very important role in determining the electoral district or constituency in which the registrant will be able to vote when eligible to do so. The registration process is completed with the registrant being photographed and issued with an Acknowledgement of Application for Registration, which is required to be surrendered when the resulting Identification Card is being delivered.
Every registration effected is considered provisional until such time as various particulars supplied by the applicant are verified through a field check which is also used to verify, on the ground, the polling division in which the registrant should be properly placed. Once the verification process is satisfactorily completed, the data is then transmitted to the Commission’s database at its Head Office where the ID card is produced.                 
 
Persons registered in the 15-17 age bracket are not required to re-register as electors on attaining the age of 18 years, since the Registration Officer, on satisfying himself that a registered person on reaching that age is so eligible, will deem that person to be an elector who may vote in future elections.
 
 
The Voting Process

 
Delimitation of Electoral Districts
 
The delimitation of electoral districts or constituencies is influenced by the growth and shifts in the population. It is conducted in accordance with Section 72 and the Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the case of Parliamentary Elections. In regard to elections at the level of the Municipal Corporations and that of the Tobago House of Assembly, the legal instruments by which the Commission is guided are the Elections and Boundaries Commission (Local Government) Act Ch. 25:50 (Act No. 18 of 1967), the Municipal Corporations Act 1990 (Act No. 37 of 1980) and their amendments. The Commission is obliged to submit reports to Parliament on its recommendations in respect of the number of electoral districts and the descriptions of the boundaries of each district defined for Parliamentary, Local Government and Tobago House of Assembly elections.
 
These reports and their frequency are as follows:-
 
i. Parliamentary Elections: Not less than two years nor more than five years after the last report was submitted.
 
ii. Local Government (Municipal) Elections: Not less than two years nor more than three years after the last report was submitted.
 
iii. Tobago House of Assembly Elections: Not less than two years nor more than four years after the last report was submitted.
 
 
Parliamentary Electoral Districts
 
For the purposes of Parliamentary elections, the country is divided into 41 electoral districts or constituencies: thirty nine (39) in Trinidad and two (2) in Tobago. With respect to the delimitation of constituencies the Constitution provides as follows: “In Trinidad and in Tobago, respectively, the electorate in any constituency shall not be more than one hundred and ten percent nor be less than ninety percent of the total electorate of the island divided by the number of constituencies in that island.”
 
The forty-one (41) Parliamentary Electoral Districts are:
 
Trinidad:
 
  1. Arima
  2. Arouca/Maloney        
  3. Barataria/San Juan
  4. Caroni Central
  5. Caroni East
  6. Chaguanas East
  7. Chaguanas West
  8. Couva North
  9. Couva South
  10. Cumuto/Manzan1lla
  11. D’abadie/O’meara
  12. Diego Martin Central
  13. Diego Martin North/East
  14. Diego Martin West
  15. Fyzabad
  16. La Brea
  17. La Horquetta/Talparo
  18. Laventille East/Morvant
  19. Laventille West
  20. Lopinot/Bon Air West
  21. Mayaro
  22. Moruga/Tableland
  23. Naparima
  24. Oropouche East
  25. Oropouche West
  26. Point Fortin
  27. Pointe-A-Pierre
  28. Port-Of-Spain North/St. Ann’s     West
  29. Port-Of-Spain South
  30. Princes Town
  31. San Fernando East
  32. San Fernando West
  33. Siparia
  34. St. Ann’s East
  35. St. Augustine
  36. St. Joseph
  37. Tabaquite
  38. Toco/Sangre Grande
  39. Tunapuna
 
Tobago:
 
  1. Tobago East
  2. Tobago West
 
The composite maps of all districts follow:
Electoral Districts of Trinidad and Tobago
 
 
 
Local Government Elections in Trinidad
 
For the purposes of local government, Trinidad is at present divided into (a) Municipal Corporation Electoral Areas and (b) Regional Municipal Corporation Electoral Areas. Five (5) cities and boroughs are comprised in the former, and nine (9) regional municipalities in the latter. The names of these electoral areas and the number of electoral districts in each are provided in the following tabulation.
 
Municipal Corporation Electoral Areas
Cities and Boroughs
 
City of Port-of-Spain      -      12 Electoral Districts
City of San Fernando      -      9 Electoral Districts
Borough of Arima      -      7 Electoral Districts
Borough of Point Fortin      -      6 Electoral Districts
Borough of Chaguanas      -      8 Electoral Districts
 
 
Regional Municipal Corporation Electoral Areas
Regional Municipalities
 
Region of Couva/ Tabaquite/Talparo      -      13 Electoral Districts
Region of Diego Martin      -      9 Electoral Districts
Region of Mayaro/Rio Claro      -      6 Electoral Districts
Region of Penal/Debe      -      9 Electoral Districts
Region of Princes Town      -      9 Electoral Districts
Region of Sangre Grande      -      8 Electoral Districts
Region of San Juan/Laventille      -      12 Electoral Districts
Region of Siparia      -      9 Electoral Districts
Region of Tunapuna/Piarco      -      14 Electoral Districts



These are shown on the following map:

Electoral Areas

 
 
 
The legislation governing local government in Trinidad comprises the Municipal Corporations Act, Act 21 of 1990: Chap 25:04 and the Elections and Boundaries Commission (Local Government) Act, Chap. 25:50 op.cit.
 
The second schedule of Chap. 25: 50 prescribes the rules to be followed in reviewing the number and boundaries of the electoral districts into which an electoral area is divided in order to give effect to rules in the said schedule.
 
According to Rule 4 of this schedule, the number of electors in an electoral district of the electoral areas of cities and boroughs “… shall be the number obtained by dividing the number of electors in the relevant electoral area by the number of electoral districts in that area, but the Commission in consideration of topographical factors vary such number, subject to the proviso, that in no case shall the number of electors in any one electoral district of an electoral area exceed or be less than the number of electors in any other electoral district of that electoral area by more than twenty-five percent.”
 
The number of electoral districts in an electoral area of a regional municipality is determined as follows:
 
“There shall be in every electoral area a basic number of four electoral districts. To this basic number shall be added the number obtained by dividing the electorate of the electoral area by 15,000; but where in any electoral area     the electorate is-
 
a)  less than 15,000, there shall be five electoral districts;


b)  more than 15,000, any residual number left after dividing the total electorate by 15,000 shall be treated as if that number were 15,000 and one electoral district shall be added in respect of such residual number.”
 
In the division of the electoral districts of the electoral areas of regional municipalities “…natural boundaries such as major highways and rivers shall be used wherever possible.”
 
 

Electoral Districts in the Electoral Area of Tobago in relation to Tobago House of Assembly Elections

 
Section 141 A (1) of Chapter 11 A of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago states “There shall be an Assembly for Tobago to be called “the Tobago House of Assembly”…” The relevant enabling legislation is Act No. 37 of 1980, its purpose being to make “…better provision for the administration of the Island of Tobago and the matters connected therewith.” The Assembly is a body corporate consisting of twelve (12) elected members called assemblymen and 3 councillors.
For the purposes of the Tobago House of Assembly Elections the relevant legislative provision is Section 4 of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (Local Government) Act, Chap. 25:50 op.cit, as amended by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (Local Government and Tobago House of Assembly) (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2008 : Act 27 of 2008. Thereby, Tobago is divided into twelve electoral districts. In delimiting electoral districts the number of electors in any such district may be varied “…provided that in no case shall the number of electors in any one electoral district of an electoral area exceed or be less than the number of electors in any other electoral district of that electoral area by more than twenty-five percent.”
 
The twelve (12) Electoral Districts are:
 
1.   Bacolet/Mount. St. George
2.   Belle Garden/Goodwood
3.   Bethel/Mt. Irvine
4.   Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden
5.   Buccoo/Mount Pleasant
6.   Canaan/Bon Accord
7.   Lambeau/Signal Hill
8.   Parlatuvier/ L’Anse Fourmi/Speyside
9.   Plymouth/Golden Lane
10. Providence/ Mason Hall/Moriah
11. Roxborough/Delaford
12. Scarborough/ Calder Hall
 
These are shown on the following map
 
 
Map of the Electoral Area of Tobago

Tobago Electoral Area

 

Submission of Reports to Parliament

 
As stated previously the Commission is mandated by law to submit reports on the review of the boundaries for Parliamentary, Local Government, and Tobago House of Assembly elections within certain specified periods. Such Parliamentary reports are by law required to be submitted to the Prime Minister and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and, in respect of Local Government and Tobago House of Assembly elections, to the Minister responsible for Local Government.
 
Soon after such a report is submitted, the relevant Minister “…lays before the House of Representatives for its approval the draft of an Order by the President for giving effect, whether with or without modification, to the recommendations contained in the report….”
 
 

Presidential Order

 
Once the draft is approved by Parliament, the relevant Minister submits it to the President who then makes an Order in terms of the draft “…and that Order shall come into force on such day as may be specified therein and, until revoked by a further Order made by the President shall have the force of law.” Such an Order by the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the draft thereof having been approved by resolution of the House of Representatives, shall not be enquired into in any court.
 
It is on the basis of such a Presidential Order that an election is held be it Local Government, Parliamentary or Tobago House of Assembly. The relevant report of the Commission which is generally the schedule to the order contains the basic parameters necessary for the holding of an election.
 
 

Writs of Election

 
Soon after the date of an election is announced a Writ of Election issued under the seal of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is addressed to each Returning Officer. All Returning Officers are appointed by the Elections and Boundaries Commission. Very importantly, a Writ of Election fixes “… the date for the nomination of candidates and the date for the taking of the poll.”
 
 
Nomination Day is held on a date not less than fourteen days after the day of issue of the Writ (of election).
 
 
Election Day generally a Monday, (though by custom and not law) shall be not less than twenty-one days after nomination day. For example, if polling day is, say, 26th October 200x then nomination day is 5th October 200x.
 
 

Election Notice

 
Upon receipt of a Writ of Election a Returning Officer shall within two days thereafter and not less than twelve days before nomination day, publish in the official Gazette and in at least one daily newspaper an Election Notice. Also, copies of the notice are to be posted at the Returning Officer’s offices and at such other places in the electoral district as appropriate.
 
The Notice of Election of a member/members* for the Electoral District of ….. (Form No. 35 in the Prescribed Form Rules) indicates:
 
(a) the address of the office of the Returning Officer;


(b) the dates and hours of operations of the office;


(c) the date and time for the preliminary examination of nomination papers;


(d) the date and hours of operation for the nomination of candidates;


(e) the date and hours for the conduct of the poll;


(f) the date and time for the declaration of the results of the poll; and


(g) the date and time for a recount, if it is requested.


 
 

Annual List of Electors

 
It is important to note that the Elections and Boundaries Commission is mandated by law to prepare and publish on the 1st of July every year an ANNUAL LIST OF ELECTORS. Such electors comprise “…all persons qualified to be and duly registered as electors in electoral districts: Parliamentary, Municipal Corporation, and Tobago House of Assembly.”
 
The ANNUAL LIST OF ELECTORS continues in force until 30th of June of the following year. On the commencement of an electoral registration, (about which more will follow,) the prevailing Annual List updated since the preceding 30th June is deemed to be the PRELIMINARY LIST. Registrations taking place during an electoral registration may be regarded as specific to the Preliminary List and not to the Annual List. A copy of the PRELIMINARY LIST must be posted at two places in the polling division to which the list relates. The locations where the list is posted are published in at least one daily newspaper, as a public service.
 
 

Electoral Registration

 
A pre-requisite of the holding of any election is an activity called an Electoral Registration. An Electoral Registration provides an eleventh-hour opportunity, as it were, for individuals to be registered or to have their registration status rectified before an upcoming election. See below. It commences on the basis of a presidential proclamation which directs that the “… electoral registration “shall be conducted in the Registration Area Offices or the Temporary Registration Area Offices established in the electoral district in which the election is to be held. The presidential proclamation specifies “… the election to which the proclamation relates, and (fixes) the date of commencement of an electoral registration.” The nine days of the electoral registration is the time during which registration activities relevant to the staging of an election are held, facilitating persons who have:-
 
  • attained the age of 18 and over but who have not been registered as electors or,
  • been registered as electors but changed their addresses and not yet notified the relevant registration officer of such change or,
  • been registered as electors and changed their names because of marriage or otherwise, or
  • been registered as electors but their names are not on the Preliminary List
 
“The ninth day after the date fixed as the date of commencement of an electoral registration is called the “qualifying date”. For example, if electoral registration commences on, say, 16th March 200x then the qualifying date is 25th March 200x.  That is to say it is the day after registration for an electoral registration closes. And from the qualifying date to the date proclaimed by the President as the termination of an electoral registration, no registration transaction affecting the register of electors can be effected. It is important to note also that subject to the provisions of the Representation of the People Act (op. cit) “… a (registered) person is qualified to be an elector for an electoral district at a Parliamentary election, a Regional Corporation election or the Tobago House of Assembly election, who on the qualifying date has resided in that electoral district for a period of at least two months preceding the qualifying date.
 
 

Revised List of Electors

 
The transactions conducted during an electoral registration in respect of the four categories of individuals referred to in the foregoing are incorporated in the PRELIMINARY LIST. This new amended list is called the REVISED LIST and according to the Election Rules should be prepared sometime before the day fixed for examination of nomination documents, namely the seventh day preceding nomination day itself. [Election Rule 5]: “Before the day fixed for the examination of nomination documents, the Chief Election Officer shall supply every Returning Officer with at least two copies of the revised lists of electors for the polling divisions in his electoral district or, where the lists have not yet been prepared, with at least two copies of the preliminary lists for the polling divisions (sic).” 
 
The REVISED LIST is posted not later than fourteen (14) clear days prior to the date of the elections. This list is posted in the same two places in the polling division where the PRELIMINARY LIST was posted, and a notice to the effect is published in at least one (1) daily newspaper.
 
 

Supplemental List of Electors

 
This is a special list intended to correct errors arising from inadvertent exclusion or inclusion of names from or on the REVISED LIST. The SUPPLEMENTAL LIST is posted alongside the REVISED LIST of Electors and together are used at polling stations for conducting the poll.
 
All lists are printed according to polling divisions with the names arranged in alphabetical order, according to surnames and copies are made available to Registration Officers and Returning Officers. In addition, the Commission furnishes Registration Officers and Returning Officers with the various lists of electors with the names arranged in alphabetical order according to the registration area and the electoral district for accessing names easily. Copies of the lists published by the Commission are made available to political parties and the general public, on request, at minimal cost.
 
 

List of Special Electors

 
Persons deemed to be Special Electors cast their votes in accordance with certain provisions laid down in the Election Rules of the ROP (op. cit). An elector is eligible to be treated as a special elector if he is:
 
(a) a member of the Police Service, of the Special Reserve police established under the Special Reserve police Act, or of the Estate police established under the Supplemental police Act;


(b) a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force;


(c) a member of the Prison Service;


(d) a member of the Commission, the Chief Election Officer, the Deputy Chief Election Officer, and the Assistant Chief Election Officer;


(e) the Returning Officer of an electoral district other than that in which he is registered for the purposes of the election;


(f) a Presiding Officer, a Deputy Presiding Officer or a Poll Clerk;


(g) a Polling Agent;


(h) a candidate or the husband or wife of a candidate for an electoral district other than that in which he is registered for the purposes of the election;


(i) an election agent or sub-agent who is registered for the purposes of the election in an electoral district other than that of his candidate;


(j) unable or likely to be unable to go in person to the polling station at which he is entitled to vote unless he travels between Trinidad and Tobago;


(k) unable or likely to be unable to go in person to the polling station at which he is entitled to vote by reason of being-


(i) a patient in a public hospital, or in a private hospital approved by the Commission, or an inmate in a public institution; or


(ii) a prisoner within the meaning of that expression in section 2 of the Prisons Act.


(l) a member of the flight crew of an aircraft;


(m) a person engaged in offshore petroleum operations.


Between the date of publication of an Election Notice and Nomination Day eligible persons desirous of being special electors apply to be treated as such to the Returning Officer of the electoral district in which they are registered. Applications are allowed by the Returning Officer once he or she is satisfied as to each applicant’s bona fides.
 
As concerns members of the Police Service, Special Reserve Police, Estate Police and Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, permission to be treated as special electors “… may be granted for an indefinite period but, where such an application is so granted the applicant shall cease to be entitled to be treated as a special elector (…) if he (or she) ceases to serve in the Police Service or as a member of the Special Reserve Police Service or of the Estate Police Service or of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force.”
 
Returning Officers keep a record of their lists of special electors and addresses. These lists must be completed not later than three days after Nomination Day.
 
“Not later than two days after the list of special electors has been prepared the Returning Officer shall publish it by making a copy thereof available for inspection at his office and shall cause a copy thereof to be delivered to the Chief Election Officer and to the Registration Officers of the registration units in which the said special electors are registered for the purposes of the election.”
 
“The Returning Officer shall make a copy of the record of special electors available for inspection at his office.”
 
“As soon as practicable after the preparation of the list of special electors, the Returning Officer shall, on request, supply to each candidate or his election agent a copy of the list.”
 
“A Registration Officer on receiving a list of special electors under subrule (6) shall delete the names of any such electors from the relevant revised lists of electors.”
 
“The Registration Officer on receipt of the list of special electors from the Returning Officer shall remove the registration records of such electors from the register and shall place them in alphabetical order according to surnames in a binder; and the records shall be the register of special electors for such electoral district.”
 
 

Nomination of Candidates  

 
Any person seeking to be a candidate at an election must be nominated by at least six (6) persons who are registered electors and whose names appear on the list of electors for the electoral district in which the candidate is seeking nomination. A person may seek nomination as a candidate for one electoral district only. Prospective candidates are required to complete the prescribed form, which may be presented to the returning officer for checking on the date fixed for the preliminary examination of all nomination papers i.e. the seventh day before nomination day.  However, all nomination papers must be presented to the Returning Officer on nomination day for processing and validation. 
The conditions for candidature for parliamentary elections are set out in Sections 47 and 48 of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago, a summary of which is stated hereunder.
 
A nominee for parliamentary elections must:-


(a) be a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago 18 years of age and over; and


(b) have resided in Trinidad and Tobago for a period of two years immediately before the date of his nomination for election, or is domiciled and resident in the country on that date.


 
Conversely, no person will qualify to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives who:-


(a) is a citizen of a country, other than Trinidad and Tobago, having become such a citizen voluntarily, or is under a declaration of allegiance to such a country;


(b) is declared bankrupt;


(c) is mentally ill within the meaning of the Mental Health Act;


(d) is under sentence of death or serving a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 12 months;


(e) is responsible for conducting elections;


(f) is convicted of any electoral offence; and


(g) is not qualified to be registered as an elector under any law in force in Trinidad and Tobago


The qualifications and disqualifications with respect to candidature for Municipal Councils and the Tobago House of Assembly Elections are similar to those for Parliamentary Elections except that:-


(a) the candidate must qualify by residence or property ownership within the Municipality (Municipal Council Elections);


(b) the candidate must reside in Tobago (Tobago House of Assembly Elections)
 
No person will qualify as a candidate who


(a) has been debarred from the practice of his or her profession on account of any act including dishonesty; or


(b) has been surcharged to an amount exceeding $2,500.00 within five years of the date of elections.
 
On Nomination Day, the Returning Officer, having examined all nomination papers presented to him, and having found them to be valid, accepts the deposit and declares the nominee to be a candidate for the electoral district. The amount of the deposit is $5000.00 in the case of Parliamentary Elections and $2000.00 for Municipal Councils or Tobago House of Assembly Elections.
 

Establishment of Polling Stations and Issue of Poll Cards

 
The Commission through its staff and Returning Officers acting separately, conduct an inspection of buildings to determine their suitability for use as polling stations. The main criteria for selecting buildings/sites for use as polling stations are:-
 


(a) The safety of the building and its capacity for accommodating persons waiting to cast their vote;


(b) The building should preferably be public or community owned with adequate space and facilities to facilitate handicapped and elderly voters;


(c) The building should ideally be located within the electoral district and as far as practicable, in the polling division to which the polling stations relate.
 


Having selected the buildings for use as polling stations, and with the approval of the Commission, the Returning Officers must publish the information regarding the establishment of polling stations in the electoral districts in the legal ‘NOTICE OF TAKING POLL’.
This notice which is published in at least one (1) daily newspaper states the following:-


(a) the date of the election and hours during which the poll will be conducted;


(b) the polling station number, which is the same as that of the polling division it services, and the address of the polling station;


(c) information on candidates i.e. name, address, occupation and symbol.
 
Copies of the notice are posted at the office of the Returning Officer and at strategic locations in the electoral district. Copies are also made available to political parties, candidates and the media.
 
A vital document in the voting process is the poll card. It carries, in addition to identifying information on the elector, particulars such as the date of the election and the polling station location and is usually issued to electors prior to polling day. While ideally an elector should have the poll card in his possession when he goes to vote, he is not placed at a disadvantage if he fails to produce it, since one would be prepared for him at the polling station.
 
 

Polling Day Activities

 
Polling commences at 6:00 a.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m. However, all persons standing in the line at 6:00 p.m. are allowed to vote before the poll is declared closed. No person is permitted to join the line after 6:00 p.m.
 
The staff at a polling station comprises:-
 
§ The Presiding Officer
§ The Deputy Presiding Officer
§ Two (2) Poll Clerks
§ One Officer in charge of the Ballot Box
§ Information Officer/s (where considered necessary).
 
The law provides for each candidate to have a polling agent (someone observing the proceeding on his behalf at each polling station.) The Presiding Officer is responsible for the operations of the polling station and may delegate assignments as warranted to ensure the smooth functioning of the station.
 
The law also identifies those persons, other than voters, who may enter a polling station. These include candidates and their agents, polling station staff, Commission Officials and the companions of physically incapacitated electors. All such authorized persons are required to make a declaration of secrecy before entering a polling station.
 
The following diagram shows the layout of a Polling Station.
 
 
There is a range of polling day offences outlined in Sections 85 to 94 of the Representation of the People Act. One to which serious attention is paid on polling day relates to activities which are prohibited within 100 yards of a polling station. The law states in part, no congregating, nor anything which may be construed as either campaigning or trying to induce an elector to vote or not to vote in a certain way is permitted within 100 yards of a polling station. Persons found guilty of committing these offences are liable to a fine of seven thousand, five hundred ($7,500) dollars or three months imprisonment.
 
 

Close of Poll Activities

 
At the close of poll after the last elector has voted, the Presiding Officer of each polling station openly in the presence of all persons permitted by law to be present including candidates or their agents, proceeds to determine the result of the poll at the respective polling station by counting the votes cast for the various candidates. The results contained in the official form titled “Statement of the Poll”, duly signed by the Presiding Officer, members of his staff and the candidates’ representatives are then transmitted to the Returning Officer who, after tabulating the results from all the polling stations in the electoral district, declares the winner of the election.
 
Apart from the Returning Officer, copies of the Statement of the Poll are given to the Chief Election Officer, members of the polling station staff and equally important, the polling agents. Provision is made for a recount, partial or total, of the ballots cast at the polling station on the request of a candidate. Such request must be made in writing to the Returning Officer by 12:00 noon on the day following that on which the results were declared.
 
 
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