Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Elections and Boundaries Department: “Your Vote is Secret”

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Belize City. October 18, 2017. The Elections and Boundaries Department hereby informs the public, that in any election, ballot papers are numbered for reconciliation and accountability purposes. Election Officials have a responsibility to ensure that all ballot papers counted in an election are only those legitimate ballot papers issued by the Presiding Officer. The public is advised that the law DOES NOT require any Presiding Officer or any election official, to inform anyone of the ballot book series or the ballot paper number he/she issues at any given point during the election process.

Whenever the Presiding Officer issues a ballot paper to a voter, the voter proceeds behind a polling booth, within the polling station, to privately cast his/her vote. The voter is then requested to fold the ballot paper in such a way so as to conceal his/her vote prior to placing the ballot paper in the ballot box.

Furthermore, in order to safeguard the secrecy of the vote, Section 39 of the Representation of the People Act, makes provision for offences for any person who infringes the secrecy of the vote. Any of these infringements carries a penalty of a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars and in default, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.

The Elections and Boundaries Department assures the public that training for public officers, assigned election duties, will continue; and the issuing of random ballots be maintained. It has never been the standard practice that ballot books number sequence is announced at the polling station; nor are ballots issued to voters in sequential order.

The general public is therefore advised that the process employed in the simulations conducted by BUFERHD is flawed and without merit.

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