Saturday, May 25, 2024

Exercise your Constitutional Right to vote during the 2024 Municipal Elections

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In a few days, eligible voters across Belize will head to the polls to select new Town and City councils for the next three years. The 2024 municipal elections will occur on Wednesday, March 6th, and voters are reminded to exercise their constitutional rights.
For this upcoming elections, a total of 163 candidates will be contesting for Mayoral and Councilor seats in Corozal, Orange Walk, San Ignacio/Santa Elena, Benque Viejo del Carmen, Dangriga, San Pedro, and Punta Gorda, as well as Belmopan and Belize City. These include 67 PUP candidates, 67 UDP candidates, seven candidates from the Belize Progressive Party, 11 candidates from the People’s Democratic Movement, and 11 independent candidates. There will be 224 polling stations nationwide, with 101,891 registered electors expected to cast their votes.
According to the Belize Elections and Boundaries Department, there are 8,704 registered voters in San Pedro Town. For the San Pedro Town election process, electors will vote at Polling Stations #7 and #10. The San Pedro High School and San Pedro Junior College Campus on the corner of Laguna Drive and Seagull Street San Pedro Town will serve as Polling Station #7, and voters with the letters of their surname beginning with A – AR, AS – BRAD, BRAK – CASI, CAST – COBA, 3729 7 COBB – D, E – GI, and GL – GU will cast their vote there. Electors with the letter of their last name beginning with H – J, K – MAH, MAI – MEN, MER – N, O – PH, PI – RH, RI – SAL, SAM – TE, TH – VAR, and VAS – Z will vote at the San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School on Barrier Reef Drive, Pollin Station #10.
For the 2024 Municipal Elections, the Returning Officer for San Pedro is the Executive Director at the Belize National Forensic Service, Gian Cho, while the Election Clerk is the Chief Environmental Officer at the Department of the Environment, Anthony Mai. Personnel under the Elections and Boundaries will closely follow the election process and provide the public with official information regarding the results of the Municipal Elections.
Any registered elector under the Representation of the People Act for that respective municipality can vote in this election. An elector can vote with or without a Voters Identification Card if their name appears on the Voters List. Even though having a voter’s ID isn’t required, a valid identification card such as a Social Security Card or passport is necessary. When voters enter the designated Polling Station, they will be given the official ballot paper with the initials of the presiding officer at the back. The voter will then cast their vote at the polling booth by marking the paper for the candidates they wish to vote for. After this, the ballot paper is folded, showing the presiding officer’s initial but concealing the vote. The folded ballot paper is placed in the ballot box provided, and the elector will immediately exit the polling station.
Where a voter has made an error in voting, the voter may hand the spoilt ballot to the presiding officer, who will immediately write the word “CANCELLED” across the front of the ballot paper and place it in the envelope provided for spoilt ballots. A new ballot paper is then given to the voter. A spoilt ballot paper is not put in the ballot box. Any ballot paper which does not have the presiding officer’s initials on the back of it; or in which the elector has voted for more candidates than there are seats to be filled; or which is not marked for any candidate; or contains any writing or mark by which the elector could be identified; or is unmarked or void for uncertainty will be void and not be counted.
If a voter is incapacitated and unable to vote in the prescribed manner, either through blindness or other physical causes, including the inability to write. In that case, that voter shall be allowed to bring along into the polling station a person of that voter’s choice to mark the ballot paper on their behalf and to place the ballot so marked inside the ballot box. It is also possible to vote via proxy; however, permission must be obtained in advance. Voting by proxy is only allowed for persons who are employed in an essential service elsewhere, such as persons employed outside Belize in any Belizean Embassy or Consulate, including their spouses and dependants; members of the Belize Defence Force; members of the Police Force assigned for duty on election day; persons acting as Election Officers; and persons employed in transporting or assisting an Election Officer.
Fifteen candidates are contesting the position of Mayor and six Councilors for San Pedro Town. Incumbent Mayor Gualberto “Wally” Nunez is leading the People’s United Party (PUP) slate with councilor candidates Dianeli Aranda, Adaly Ayuso, Johnnia Durate, Marina Kay, Ernesto Bardalez, and Jose Castellanos. The United Democratic Party (UDP) slate is composed of Mayor candidate Wilfredo Alamilla Jr. and councilor candidates Gian Rivero, Gabriel Zetina, Ama Lilia Rodriguez, Yakarelis Hernandez, Abner Diaz, and Byron Duarte. Also contesting for the seat of Mayor is independent candidate Abner Bacab.
For those wanting to confirm which Polling Station to vote at during the 2024 Municipal Elections, the information can be found at https://elections.gov.bz/voter-lookup/

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