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Election workers are ready


Carol Winker

Monday 9th May, 2005   Posted: 17:30 CIT   (22:30 GMT)

More than 300 people will be working at the polling stations tomorrow so voters can cast their ballots in an efficient and orderly manner.

Presiding officers, poll clerks, field officers and logistics officers have attended a series of training sessions and have studied the Elections Law as it pertains to their duties.

They have sworn or solemnly affirmed that they will act faithfully in their appointed capacity “according to law, without partiality, fear, favour or affection”.

Returning officers and their deputies – those who received the nominations, who count the ballots and announce the winners – have also taken their oath or made their affirmation.

They have attended their own training sessions as well as the sessions of the workers in the polling stations.

Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez explained that many have worked in previous elections, although they may have been in different positions or even in different districts.

Election workers are a mix of public sector and private sector employees. But on Election Day, he has told them, they “belong to the Queen.” Rules banning cell phones and radios pertain to them as well as to the public because they are not to be distracted from their duty.

Of course, Mr. Gomez hastened to add, if there were some genuine family emergency, the Elections Office Command Centre would provide communication to the person concerned.

Election workers will also have voted by postal ballot so that they can devote all of their time to their appointed tasks.

Election Day will start for some from the night before. Almost everyone will be at his or her post by 5.30am, getting everything ready for the polls to open at 7am.

Workers will remain on the job until the polls close at 6pm and continue on as their duties require. Some will be involved in the counting of ballots, which it is hoped will get underway at 7pm or as soon as possible after that time. Counting may go on until 1am or 2am.

Mr. Gomez and his deputies will be visiting the various polling stations throughout the day.

Deputy Supervisor Orrett Connor pointed out that election workers are mainly volunteers, so he is asking the public to be patient if any hiccups occur.

Mr. Gomez asked members of the public to be on their best behaviour at the polls and at the count. “We want this to be another incident–free election,” he said.

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