A call is being made by the Free and Fair Election League for an investigation into how several ballots were deemed as rejected based on the absence of the seal affixed to those ballots.
In its recently released 2023 Election Observer Report, the League says that this occurred in at least two polling stations, which was observed by one of its volunteers.
This was reportedly the case in the St. Phillip’s South constituency where over 30 ballots were deemed to be spoiled during the counting process.
According to the League, the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC), which was in charge of the elections, needs to give an explanation.
As such, the League is recommending that an independent inquiry be held as ABEC cannot investigate itself.
Apparently, this was not the only anomaly observed by the League during the elections.
In its report, the election observer team says another volunteer reported that a voter turned up to vote in party colours and had to be escorted off the compound by the police.
There was another incident in which a voter appeared to be doing some type of recording and had to be asked by the police to discontinue the action.
The League is of the opinion that ABEC could have done more in its voter education campaign.
A volunteer with the League also witnessed, in the St. John’s City South polling area, a female voter giving her address as American Road when she actually resided in Yorks (St. John’s Rural North) when she went into the polling station to vote.
The League is expressing concern that she presented a driver’s license and a letter from the Immigration Department in order to vote, which resulted in an argument.
Apparently, an undertaking was given to have the matter investigated, the outcome of which is not known, the League reports.
Further reports suggest that this woman was not the only non- national to show up to cast their ballot with letters from the Immigration Department and their driver’s license.
It is inconclusive as to whether or not they were allowed to vote.
However, the Free and Fair Election League says what is of concern is whether or not a person with an amnesty letter would have satisfied the residency requirement of legally residing in the constituency for a continuous period of seven years.