On Tuesday Supervisor of Elections Pastor Leroy Benjamin apologized for the long lines at the polls on Election Day. “We would like to apologize to especially those persons up at the Bird Rock area in the stadium. We…should have had an extra box in both places,” Pastor Benjamin said on national television after the final results of the election were announced, Tuesday morning. “But with all of the things that [have] happened, the analysts, they didn’t work that out properly. We take the blame for that and we apologize to you. In Sandy Point as well; and there were one or two places that the lines were long,” he acknowledged. The supervisor said the lines however, were indicative of good voter participation, “…and we’re glad that you took the time out. The next time around we’ll say to you that it will be much more comfortable because all the adjustments will be made.” He also said that adjusting to the new voter identification system may also have contributed to delays. “I think that in the processing they wanted to be so careful rather than processing three or four persons one time and let them go I think we recognize that as well.” He said overall, the identification system was effective. “Those who were using them for the very first time were very careful in trying not to make a mistake, but the thing is that in most of the cases…the presiding officers didn’t more than about two, two and a half minutes to process each person who came in.” Healthy voter turnout he said, also resulted in long lines. “If you have sixty persons on a line spending two minutes I think that tells you…that you’re talking about two hours.” He assured the public that the electoral office recognized the shortfalls, and would work to address them. ” By the next time around whatever election it may be, that…the office should have a better hold, a better understanding and things should be a lot better.” Though the polls closed at 6:00 Monday evening, those in line were allowed to vote but at come stations the process ran until nearly 10:00 o’clock. Results for Constituencies Five, Eight and Nine did not start to come in until after 1:00 a.m., and the final boxes for Eight and Nine were not announced until after 8:30 Tuesday morning. Mr. Mark Brantley of the Concerned Citizens Movement, the re-elected representative for Nevis Nine, was indignant when he spoke to WINN FM Tuesday. “I think the system is just inefficient. If…I had my way I would rip it up, rip up this nonsense reform and start all over!” he said. “It is absolutely ridiculous that to count seven thousand votes we have to wait from 6:00 when the polls close last night to 8:00 this morning…it is absolutely unacceptable and I think that that needs to change,” Brantley said, referring to the seven thousand voters registered on Nevis. “Having fought this very difficult battle over the last two weeks to have to wait until 8:00 this morning, I compare it to Dominica…where they have a much larger population they knew who their Government was before midnight…and here we are waiting and waiting and waiting,” Mr. Brantley said.
Elections Supervisor Apologizes for Delays at Polls
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