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Elections Commission takes steps to reduce void ballots

Mohamed Rehan
23 September 2023, MVT 23:50
Mohamed Rehan
23 September 2023, MVT 23:50

Elections Commission (EC) on Saturday, September 23, announced of precautions taken for the presidential election's runoff polls scheduled for next Saturday.

The commission said it took preventive measures to reduce void ballots, which was a major issue during the first round of the elections.

During the first round, EC deemed over 4,000 ballots void. The primary reason for this being writing over the ticks on the ballot papers.

EC wrote this off as 'scribbling' and held such ballot inadmissible for counting.

The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had expressed criticism towards the Election Commission (EC) for this decision.

Speaking to the media, EC deputy chief Ismail Habeeb on Saturday said that a bristol board would placed next to the ballots in every station, which would be used by voters to check for running ink in the pens.

Moreover, EC promised of switching to better quality pens with lower chances of them running out.

Additionally, EC has changed the layout of the ballot booths to ensure full privacy for voters to cast their ballot.

Habeeb also said that the commission was providing training and raising awareness among elections officials in light of the issues discovered during the first round.

The commission is attempting to raise awareness among election officials to verify eligibility of the ballots.

"There are several cases of elections monitors and observers influencing ballot station in-charges to change legible ballots into void ones, it is a dangerous prospect," Habeeb said.

Habeeb advised elections officials to remain undeterred from coercions while he urged elections monitors and observers not to collude in the voting.

Habeeb also said the commission has initiated public awareness towards legible and void ballots.

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