General Elections 2016 Statement

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GENERAL ELECTIONS 2016

The Electoral Commission of Saint Lucia welcomes you to its temporary website established specifically to display the results of the General Elections 2016.

General Elections 2016 is a first for both COMMISSIONER ZILTA GEORGE-LESLIE appointed in December 2014 and I as Chairperson in November 2014, following the death of Justice Suzie d’ Auvergne. This is the ‘second’ for COMMISSIONER MICHAEL FLOOD he having served on the Commission for almost nine (9) years.

Notably it is also a ‘first’ for MR. GASPER JN BAPTISTE, as Chief Elections Officer.

In preparation for the General Elections which were constitutionally due by February 2017, the Electoral Department embarked upon a campaign of reviewing the Electoral Department’s voter education material with a view to increasing and improving voter registration and voter turnout, especially the youth. The success of that effort will be known within the next few days.

The Commission on consultation with the Chief Elections Officer and his Assistant, sought and obtained a number of amendments to the Elections Act and Regulations, Cap 1.02 Revised Edition of the Laws of Saint Lucia. The Elections (Amendment) Act No. 13 of 2016 sought to and was successful in giving effect to some of the recommendations of the Observer Missions to the General Elections of 2011.

 

The Commission was concerned about the senior citizens and incapacitated persons at care facilities and homes for the elderly, as well as patients at hospitals, who might be disenfranchised.

In particular, the amendments which established Advance Polling and Advanced Polling Stations by which those persons were given the opportunity for the first time to vote on 3rd June 2016, were implemented. This included the establishment of Polling Stations at Victoria, Tapion and St Jude’s Hospitals as well as St Lucy’s Home and Comfort Bay -residential facilities for the elderly.

Included in institutions  which benefited from the advance polling were the Police electors – who were already legally provided for voting in advance of general polling – Fire Service Officers, Correctional Facility Officers, Election day Workers, the Chief Elections Officer and Staff of the Electoral Department and the members of the Electoral Commission.

The Commission considers Advance Polling one of its greatest achievements in Elections 2016 and is satisfied that the Electoral Department was certainly prepared for Advance Polling on Friday June 3rd 2016.

Unfortunately whilst the amendments also provided for the use of the voting stamp to replace the lead pencil, this could not be implemented for Elections 2016.

Other amendments included changes in the ballot with a size increase and the inclusion of a coloured photograph of the candidate and prohibition of the use of mobile phones in polling stations.

The Commission has improved the broadcast of the elections results during the preliminary count, by implementing a website display update as the count progresses. The vote count is electronically submitted by the Returning Officers and the website is updated immediately for public view. The results site will be displayed on large screen monitors in the Parliament building which is the traditional venue for receiving election results. The website does not replace the official count. It displays the preliminary count and replaces the traditional telephone call count which was prone to a number of weak areas and inconsistencies.

The importance of election oversight and in particular from Election Observer Missions can never be underscored. Among others, it is critical to improving Saint Lucia’s electoral process through continuing development and learning from its electoral experiences.

Election assessment reports from Observer Missions and recommendations for improving election management and processes, are keys to the success of our elections. In this regard, the Commission extends a warm welcome to regional and international observers of the 2016 General Elections.

More importantly, the extent to which these recommendations were adopted and implemented in Elections 2016 will serve as testimony of the commitment and dedication of the Electoral Commission and by extension, the Chief Elections Officer, to the betterment of Saint Lucia’s electoral system and electoral process.

To put it succinctly, the authenticity of our democratic process is assured by the presence at our general elections of the Observer Missions.

The Commission encourages the electorate to exercise its right to vote on Monday 6th June 2016.

 

CYNTHIA COMBIE MARTYR

Chairperson

Electoral Commission

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