Vote Secrecy is one of the main principles of Elections. Electoral laws and developed electoral procedures must ensures that vote secrecy is protected.
Acting Chief Electoral Officer, Mr. Fredrick Bosoboe said that laws and procedures are in place to ensure that each vote is totally secret and to gain voters’ confidence in the processes so that, they can exercise right to vote, freely.
Mr. Bosoboe explained that counting systems used for the two elections are different.
“Provincial ballot papers are counted by each polling stations and votes are not mixed. Each ballot box for each polling station is counted and number of votes gained by candidates is determine for each polling station”, Mr. Bosoboe explained.
“After all the polling stations are counted, the candidate who gained the overall highest number of votes is declared the winner”, Mr. Bosoboe said.
Mr. Bosoboe continues by explaining the counting method used for National General Election Ballot paper. Votes counting method used for national general election ballot papers is called ‘Batching System or method’.
“Batching is simply grouping of random polling stations together which means, 2-5 ballot boxes are grouped together forming one batch”, Mr. Bosoboe explained.
The number of batches per constituency depends on number of polling stations. Each constituency should have at least 3-6 batches. For the by-election in West Kwaio there will be 5 batches.
Mr. Bosoboe said that ballot boxes in each batch are individually verified and reconciled to ensure that, records at polling stations and the record of security seal’s serial numbers at the polling station remains intact and matched.
He explained that any mis recording or unmatched records found with polling station records through this verification and reconciliation procedure at the counting center can be settled during the counting.
“If all records are verified and reconciled, votes in all the ballot boxes in one batch are mixed together before votes are sorted into candidates which are then counted”, Mr. Bosoboe further explained.
“The same verification and reconciliation process are repeated for the rest of the batches of polling station for each constituency”, Mr. Bosoboe explained.
“This counting method, ensures that voters’ votes are delink to their identity and their polling station, in that way, secrecy of vote is protected as votes gained per candidates are determined by batches and not by polling stations”, Mr. Bosoboe said.
Again, these procedures and measures are in place to protect vote secrecy. Hence, the Commission would like to assure all voters that nowhere in the electoral process your choice of candidates can be known and calls on all voters to exercise their right freely and without fear or favor.
Remember, voting is very important and it is your voice to electing our representatives, Mr. Bosoboe expressed.
“Vote Blo Iu Hemi Voice Blo Iu”