BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 22ND 2010 (CUOPM) – The Commonwealth Observer Team that monitored the January 25th general election in St. Kitts and Nevis is commending the Electoral Commission for the use of the National Identification Card and the Photo List in the polling stations. “This was a considerable asset to the polling process and served to allay most of the fears from previous elections about multiple voting and personation,” said the Report released By Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma on Friday. Advanced copies of the 33-page Report were received By the Office of the Prime Minister prior to public release. The Commonwealth Team reported that a great majority of voters were in possession of their identity card and the few that were not, confirmed their identity By showing other photographic identification such as a passport or driver’s license. “Voters’ lists at each polling station were usually, but not invariably, displayed outside the polling station which also contributed to facilitating the process of identification,” said the Report. The Commonwealth Team, headed By former Foreign Minister and the Opposition Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs in New Zealand, the Hon. Chris Carter in its report noted that the Team heard concerns from opposition party commentators and some voters about the indelible ink used to prevent multiple voting – as it appeared to wipe off easily. “The Team’s observations (and in the case of one Team member, personal testing) revealed that the ink did in fact deepen in colour following its attempted removal, and the Team was satisfied with the performance of the ink,” said the Report. It noted there were no violent or serious incidents observed during the poll, aside from a report of a person apprehended for photographing her ballot with a mobile phone, and the disagreement among party supporters relating to the registration of certain voters mentioned above at one polling station, which was contained peacefully By police and security forces. “The main concern was in three constituencies where the number of voters allocated to certain polling stations was too many and this caused great agitation By voters who had turned out early to exercise their franchise and had to wait up to five hours in a long queue. The situation was further compounded By the fact that it was raining for a great part of the day. It was apparent that this problem could have been averted with better distribution of voters and staff between polling stations, or additional resources within the largest ones,” said the Report.
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