Some people’s hopes of seeing the ballots counted at the polling stations where they voted will not be realized in this election, says Ian Hughes, the human resource and training officer at the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC).
Over the years, many people have expressed the fear that moving ballot boxes from the various polling stations – to one central location for counting – creates an avenue for voter fraud by the ruling party.
And while the Electoral Commission would wish for counting to take place where the votes are cast, Hughes says that legislative changes would have to be enacted first.
He says that, based on the current law, the returning officer is responsible for counting the ballots; and there is only one such officer for each constituency and not for each polling station.
Hughes says that ABEC will continue to engage the authorities and advocate for changes that will make elections in Antigua and Barbuda flow more smoothly.