Elections and Boundaries Department Prepared for Upcoming Municipal Elections

Elections and Boundaries Department Prepared for Upcoming Municipal Elections

Municipal elections are nine days away, and the Elections and Boundaries Department is ready to execute.  Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai, says there are no major changes from the previous election in 2021.  During her appearance on The Morning Show today, Tamai says that the officials working the elections have been trained on conduct, and the voting processes.

Josephnie Tamai, Chief Elections Officer, Elections and Boundaries Department: “We have conducted training with the police officers both at the senior level and also the returning officers, election clerks and my registration officers they are also conducting trainings with the police officers for them to even understand the whole process of how it works. Because sometimes people complain and they would say well when I got to the polling station the police told me I could not vote. At the end of the day the police officers are there to maintain law, the decision of who votes is not for the police officers. And so sometimes like I said we do get those. So the police officers are clear in terms of their role and responsibility on election day. I went to emphasize that it’s municipal elections and so you have Belize City where the options are you vote for one mayor and ten councilors right. For Belmopan City and Towns it’s for one mayor and six councilors and so the person would decide who they want to vote for. We also have what we call a spoilt ballot. Let’s say for example the elector goes into the polling station behind the polling booth and they made a mistake that person can go back to the presiding officer, inform of what happened that they made a mistake, they don’t need to show the presiding officer whatever was marked on their ballot paper because I want to emphasize that a vote is secret right ? So it’s a secret ballot. At no point in time should anybody ask a person to display or to disclose how they have voted.”

As it relates to the laws and conduct of the public on Election Day, Tamai says the no-sale of liquor remains the same as in previous years.

Josephnie Tamai, Chief Elections Officer, Elections and Boundaries Department: “When it comes to time off for voting, because every time we keep having this issue where persons are saying well I want to go out and vote but my employer does not want to give me time off to go vote. And so I want to advise employers that by law their obligated to give the person reasonable time off. Because it all depends on where that person is working as opposed to where they’re voting. And so they need to give that person enough time to reach to the polling station and cast his or her vote. Also the sale of liquor is not allowed on that day. I know it’s municipal elections and even the police and it’s something we need to look at where the police officers are saying maybe there might need to be an amendment to the law not to only have the sale of liquor restricted in the cities and towns because people go out to other closer areas and still purchase it. We know sometimes even when it’s across the country for general elections people still buy it before and so I want to encourage persons you know let’s have law and order prevail. Let’s have a smooth election process.”

Municipal elections are set for next Wednesday, March 6.

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