Training for Election Day workers, which commenced on January 4 and was conducted by the Returning Officers in the respective constituencies, concluded on the evening of Monday, January 9.
Ian Hughes, the human resource and training officer with the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC), says over 1,000 potential Election Day workers were trained.
Hughes says the exercise officially ended with a written assessment, after which the Returning Officers will select the teams for Election Day.
Not everyone who took part in the training will be selected, he notes. But at least 675 Election Day workers are required for various duties at the 188 polling stations – an increase on the number of stations in the 2018 General Election.
The polling agents for the respective political parties will have to meet with the Returning Officers, as well, to be sworn in for Election-Day duties, Hughes says.
The ABEC officer notes that the entire election process is a serious affair and, so, Election Day workers are bound by an oath of secrecy.
He says that information about the voting process and those who turn out to exercise their franchise should not be revealed by these ABEC employees before the closing of the polls.
According to Hughes, those selected to work on Election Day should also limit any activity with a political party until after the elections, since they are now the “faces” of their polling station and, by extension, the Commission and the electoral process.
While they retain the right of association, these persons must demonstrate some responsibility, Hughes says, especially now they have been selected to be a part of the elections process.
Public fraternizing with their respective parties or candidates could cast some doubt on the process, Hughes notes, since voters might see it in a negative light or make untoward assumptions.