Candidate Adachi seeks assurance of transparency from EC
By: L.N. Reklai
October 24, 2016 (Koror) Ballots for Palau proper and central are going to be machine readable ballots according to information from the Office of Election Commission. The ballots are being printed overseas and are expected to arrive in Palau on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
Additionally, absentee ballots, due to time constrain, were printed last week by Western Caroline Trading Company (WCTC) on regular paper and have been mailed out to all the 2,000 plus absentee voters that requested absentee ballots.
Vice presidential candidate Yositaka Adachi, in a letter to Election Commission Acting Administrator Elenita Brel, asking for a more transparent election process, wanted to know if the ballots printed locally will be marked individually to avoid possible duplication, how many ballots were printed, what print shop printed them, how many have been sent out and where they were sent to.
The letter also asked if their representatives can be present through-out the entire tabulation process from opening of ballot boxes, DHL pouches containing absentee votes, sorting of ballots and actual counting of votes per markings on the ballots.
The absentee ballots were sent out to over 2000 plus absentee voters based on the number of requests received by Palau Election Commission by September 20, 2016.
Asked why all the ballots could not have been printed overseas, Election Commission replied that the machine readable ballots would not have made it here in time to be sent out. Due to time constrain, Palau Election Commission decided to print the absentee on regular paper and send out early.
Regarding the avoidance of duplication, EC Vice Chairman Elliot Udui stated that each absentee ballot was initialed by all the Board members to reduce possibility of duplication.
“Each absentee ballot is matched with request received, the voter’s list and the accompanying affidavit in the covering envelope,” stated Board member Tellei. “We keep total number of ballots given to one precinct, number of voided ballots due errors and number of ballots casts. At the end of the day, our numbers should be the same. If we had 100 ballots, 50 people casts their votes, 5 were voided due to errors, we should have 45 ballots remaining that are not marked. This is a process we have been using for many years,” he added.
The tabulation of Palau proper and central boxes may be completed faster than expected due to availability of machine readable ballots. Absentee ballots will follow the manual tabulation process and vice presidential candidate Adachi’s request to be present through-out the entire tabulation process is still waiting to be answered. [/restrict]