The Palau Elections Commission said yesterday that all final preparations are being made for the upcoming primary election on September 22.
Election Commissioner Maria Decherong-Simer said that more than 30 polling places across the country are prepared to host an estimated 16,000 Palauan voters here and off-island who will vote for the presidential primary on Tuesday.
Simer said in the 2016 primary, the voter turnout was about 60 percent.
Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 22 and tabulation will start at the night of the election or at 9 p.m.
She said she expects unofficial results by early Wednesday morning. with absentee ballots deadline of receipt by Sept. 28.
The tabulation will be held at the Ngarachamayomg Cultural Center.
For the primary, Simer said the counting will be done manually with ballots printed on ordinary paper.
“We are just using regular papers for now, we have to order ballot stocks from Election Systems & Software, the vendor who provides this scanner, “ Simer said.
She said electronic counting will be used during the November general election instead.
The commission is also preparing its more than 100 election officials for the conduct of the election.
“We are ready for everything,” Simer said.
She added that election officials are also ready to take COVID-19 precautionary measures during the election day, by wearing masks and practicing hand hygiene and having disinfectant, like alcohol on hand.
According to the election laws, no campaigning shall be conducted within five hundred (500) feet of a ballot box on the day of the election.
Simer said the prohibition applies to posters, flyers, t-shirts, buttons or any other item or broadcast station or any cable television method ,including social media ,used to promote a particular candidate or candidates.
Law also prohibits alcoholic beverages shall be sold in the state holding the election or otherwise provided to any person in that state while the polls are open.
Candidates will not be allowed within five hundred feet of any ballot box except for the purpose of casting his/her own ballot.
Vice President Raynold Oilouch, businessman Alan Seid, former president Johnson Toribiong and entrepreneur SurangelWhipps Jr. will battle it out at the primary scheduled in less than a week.
The top two vote-getters then face each other at the Nov. 3 general election.
According to the Palau Election Commission there are 16, 420 registered voters.

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