General elections 2020 | 15 September 2020
ECS announces procedures for ballot printing, vote casting
By Elsie Pointe
With the presidential and legislative elections just around the corner, the Electoral Commission Seychelles yesterday held a briefing with political parties on the procedures for ballot printing and vote casting.
These information were subsequently passed on to the media in a press conference just after.
“In regards to the printing of ballot papers, we have asked the political parties to ready their representatives who will be accompanying the Electoral Commission Seychelles (ECS) delegation,” explained ECS chairperson Danny Lucas.
The ballot papers are to be printed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and an ECS officer expects to fly to Dubai in advance next week to prepare for the arrival of the delegation, headed by the chief electoral officer.
“We have already identified hotels with anti-Covid measures that are in close proximity to the place where we will be printing the ballot papers which will make it easier for the delegation,” highlighted Mr Lucas yesterday.
Each political party has been invited to send one representative each to supervise the printing of both lots of paper for the presidential and legislative elections.
Once they have undertaken the nomination procedures this week, independent candidates will also be offered the option to send their representatives.
“We anticipate that the delegation will be back in the country early in October,” added Mr Lucas.
The political parties have also been notified that the entire delegation will have to go into quarantine on arrival in Seychelles.
Given the mandatory quarantine, another ECS team will take over responsibility of the ballot papers.
“The political parties have agreed that this is the procedure that we have to follow given the circumstances,” noted Mr Lucas.
The ECS has also taken into account the possibility of a second round of elections, and noted that the ballot papers for the run-off election might very well be printed in Dubai without the presence of any representatives from political parties and ECS staff.
The ECS also informed the political parties on the measures being implemented to minimise the risks of voters mistakenly inserting the legislative ballot papers into the presidential ballot box and vice versa.
Mr Lucas explained that, firstly, the two types of ballot papers will be printed in different colours ‒ the National Assembly ballot papers will be plain while the ballot papers for the presidential election will be designed with coloured borders to assist voters in differentiating which is which.
Additionally, the ballot boxes for legislative and presidential election will be distinctly different and placed on separate tables.
Electoral officers will also be placed near the boxes to help guide voters.
In cases where these preventive actions are not sufficient and some voters do place their votes in the incorrect boxes, the ECS and the political parties concurred that their votes will still count.
“We have decided to give precedence and importance to the Constitutional rights of a voter to cast his vote. Unless there are substantive defects we will attempt to make sure that the voter’s vote counts,” said Mr Lucas.
“We also decided that, before we start counting, we would sort out the ballot boxes and check if there are any National Assembly ballot papers that are in the presidential election boxes and take them out. We would then put all the ballot papers back in the box and reseal it and if there are any displaced National Assembly ballot papers we will place them aside for everyone to see.”
“The same will be done for the National Assembly ballot boxes.”
The voter registry will be certified today followed by the nomination of presidential candidates tomorrow and nomination of parliamentary aspirants on Friday September 18.
Also present during yesterday’s press conference was Manuela Amesbury, chief electoral officer.