And with the nomination of candidates out of the way, the actual election is in fifteen days. According to Chief Elections Officer this election will bear many similarities to the process followed in November. She noted, however, that polling stations will scale down in terms of the number of assigned voters.
Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer: “What we’re doing this time around we’re conducting the election in a similar fashion. What we also did was to reduce further the number of persons who will be voting in any one polling station. So our polling stations will not have more than 400 persons who will be eligible to vote in those polling stations. And one of the reasons why we did that was to ensure that the waiting time for persons is very adequate because we know that when it comes to a general election you vote for one candidate, when it comes to the municipal election you vote for eleven in the case of Belize City and seven in the case of Belmopan and the towns so that is one of the reasons we try to reduce the numbers to reduce the waiting time for persons because we know that persons don’t want to be in line waiting very long hours and also what we want to do is to assure the public that we will be having all the safety protocols in place. We want to ask the public as well to do their part because like mentioned yes we’re still in a pandemic so the proper use of their face mask is very very critical, the sanitizing or the washing of their hands again that is very important and the social distancing again. So those are laws that will be enforced for election and we want to encourage persons to ensure that they be aware that we’re in this pandemic, yes persons want to come out and vote we will make it as safe as possible for them to come out and vote but they also have to do their part by following the COVID-19 protocols that are in place.”
Tamai told Love News also explained how the counting will take place in the nine municipalities. She also answered our question on whether March 3 will be dubbed a public and bank holiday to allow workers to vote.
Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer: “In terms of counting we’re going to have centralized counting stations for the different municipalities. In some areas where there is a larger number we’ll have more counting stations so we should have those out and published by the end of this week. I can tell you will have it up on our website pretty shortly because we have already finalized those. So counting will be done simultaneously in order for the counting to be finished quickly and also to ensure that we have only a limited number of persons within those counting stations while still ensuring that we abide by the laws in regards to the number of counting agents that are eligible to be in those counting stations because we want the process to be fair and transparent as well.”
Reporter: Are we looking at any special rules for March 3rd for example the sale of alcohol, public and bank holiday ? Are we looking at any of those things ?
Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer: “Well I’m not certain about the public and bank holiday as yet that is something I know that the government will have to make a decision on but when it comes to the sale of alcohol the law has been for some years now that alcohol cannot be sold during municipal elections from the day up until the counting has been concluded. So it’s not like what used to be or what maintains for a general election. For municipal election alcohol must not be sold until the counting has been concluded so that still remains and that is a matter that I’m sure that the police is going to ensure that they enforce on that day.”