that “On the whole, we feel that there was an effort made to conduct these elections in the best way possible, but there are some challenges that still remain, in order to make it more transparent, more efficient, and more in conformity with what is required to ensure the highest degree of best practices, in the conduct of elections and to strengthen the system of democracy in St. Kitts and Nevis, and in particular, Nevis.”
Mr Spencer was speaking at the Hermitage Hotel in Nevis; hours after the 2011 Nevis Island Elections were decided, with the NRP being declared winners of 3 seats, over the 2, secured by the CCM.
“There are some recommendations that we made since the last General Elections that have not been implemented; such as the counting of ballots. The OAS has recommended that the ballots be counted where they were cast, instead of engaging in the transportation of all the ballots to one central location,” said the OAS team leader.
“There is no need for the votes to be counted in one place. It has become standard practice now in other parts of the world, for the ballots to be counted at the individual polling stations, providing a preliminary count and subsequent counting can take place the following day, if necessary, at the offices of the returning officer. That would certainly speed up the process,” explained Spencer.
He said they also believe that, not with-standing the efforts made in 2007/2008 with the Re-confirmation of Voters and the new registration regulations, to deal with issues residency and overseas residents in particular, more work is needed.
Some of the changes made in 2007/08 have created some elements of complexity and perhaps they need to have legal review of the electoral laws, said Mr Spencer.
“Most of the problems that arose on Election Day stemmed from issues that had been in the political domain for several months earlier, especially the question surrounding the registration and deletion and addition of names to the voters list,” stated Spencer.
This issue he said will be covered in the report that is now being prepared. A number of recommendations will be submitted to government to help deal with the issue. We believe that there is need for a better system, a more transparent system; to deal with claims and objections with respect to the registration of persons.
A better system for notification of individuals, who may be subject to a claim of objection, is also needed.
Based on information that was provided to us, there seems to a vacuum, in that area.