Published On: Tue, Oct 4th, 2016

Total recount underway

GREAT BAY – Watching grass grow is probably more exciting than sitting through a session of the Central Voting Bureau during a recount of all votes cast in the September 26 elections, but there was still some excitement in the air for at least two candidates yesterday.


Photo caption: All hands go up in favor of the recount of all ballots. Photo Today / Hilbert Haar

Central Voting Bureau finds discrepancies

When the Central Voting Bureau announced the results last week, UP-candidate Jules James was just one vote ahead of Tamara Leonard for the fifth seat in parliament. But already during the recount yesterday of the first district, an additional valid vote popped up for Leonard, evening the score with James at 207. Because Leonard is the UP’s number 3 candidate and James is ranked number 9, the seat would on this score go to Tamara Leonard because of her higher ranking on the list. The end result of this close race won’t be known before tomorrow.

Chairman of the Central Voting Bureau Jason Rogers said yesterday at the opening of the public meeting that he takes the reports from the individual polling stations very serious. “We examined these reports and we found a number of discrepancies that we will disclose to the public. We want to make sure that the process is transparent.”

One report revealed that a vote had been cast by a voter who had been deregistered from the census office. Rogers did not immediately announce other discrepancies.

The chairman said that eligible voters are entitled to object to the election result and to ask for a recount, but that the Central Voting Bureau also has the authority to take such a decision on its own authority. All members raised their hand in consent when Rogers tabled the proposal for the total recount.

Before the Central Voting Bureau went down to business, it played a short video with pictures of Samuel Allen Jr., the radio journalist who passed away on Saturday morning at the age of 48. The sound track with the video was appropriate – a piano rendition of Frank Sinatra’s I Did It My Way.

The meeting took place in the assembly hall of the parliament building. Twenty suitcases packed with ballots stood in the center of the room.

After the review of the first district, the John Larmonie Center, four previously declared invalid votes were found to be valid. These votes went to Claret Conner, Sarah Wescot-Williams, Ardwell Irion and Theo Heyliger. One vote previously attributed to Franklin Meyers turned out to be for Tamara Leonard. So far, that one vote could make all the difference for Leonard.

At the second district, the voting bureau found one vote for Claude Peterson (Christian Party) invalid. George Pantophlet (NA) found three additional votes here, while Dr. Lloyd Richardson and Theo Heyliger both lost a vote.

The invalid votes showed an astounding ignorance of the voting system. Several voters voted for two candidates; one voted for seven and another one even for ten candidates. One voter opted to vote for the number one candidates on all lists. One voter, with an apparent sympathy for NA-candidate Silveria Jacobs, voided his own efforts by adding the message ‘We all need Jesus’ to his or her ballot.

The Central Voting Bureau completed the recount of five of the twenty districts yesterday and continues with its work this morning, beginning at 9 a.m. There are no significant differences in the vote count so far.