St. John’s Antigua- Electoral Commissioner Anthonyson King has returned from his stint as a Caricom elections observer in the Bahamian elections with suggestions that could streamline Antigua & Barbuda’s elections process.
“The change that I can suggest to the members of parliament…is that they should permit the count to take place immediately after the vote, King said. “It would make the polls come in a lot quicker. Polls were closed by 6 o’clock and by 7o’ clock there were results coming in from all over the island from various polling stations. I think it helps with efficiency and a quicker response and quicker result of the election and the will of the people,” he added.
According to a perennial elections observer, in Antigua & Barbuda, ballots are removed from the polling area and tabulated at a central location. King feels this procedure slows down the process, he noted that last election some constituency outcomes were not known until 2am the next morning.
One Bahamian elections practice that King does not think the twin-island should adopt is the wearing political colours to the voting place,
““I think personally that when you are displaying a colour, I’m not certain if you can consider the vote to be secret, because in most cases the person is going to vote for that particular colour. I feel more comfortable with our way, on the day of the election all colours are discouraged.”
King was a member of a ten-member Caricom delegation sent to observe the elections in the Bahamas. The delegation included, Jamaica, St Lucia, Belize, Barbados, Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago were also amongst the Caricom observers. This is the first time observers were on hand at elections in the Bahamas.