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Elections Watch Key Findings Reveals Smooth Election Process

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Logo of Election Watch 


By Buba Gagigo

The Election Watch Committee (EWC), a partnership of seven organizations with diverse expertise and backgrounds, has announced that Gambians peacefully participated in the Local Government elections in all administrative areas and faced little or no challenges in casting their ballots.

“Based on reports from Elections Watch Observers deployed to polling streams in all administrative areas, Gambians peacefully participated in the Local Government elections and faced little or no challenges in casting their vote. The IEC polling officials generally followed procedures during the voting, closing, and counting process. Party agents were present in all of the polling streams observed by the EWC, and did not object to the counting in nearly all observed locations,” EWC said in their report.

On the Voting Process, EWC said their Observers witnessed IEC staff generally following voting procedures;

“Elections Watch Observers in nearly all of the polling streams observed reported that pregnant women, physically challenged, and elderly voters were given priority to vote and were allowed assistance from someone of their choice when requested. Elections Watch Observers reported that the IEC polling officials generally followed procedures,” EWC revealed.

In all polling stations observed, EWC revealed that voters were always asked to present their voter’s card before being allowed to vote, voters were able to cast their ballot in secret, and the finger of every voter was marked with indelible ink, and every voter received only one token in all polling streams observed consistent with the electoral law.

They said In nearly all of the polling streams observed, voters without a valid voter card or whose name was not on the voter list were not allowed to vote.

“In about half of the polling streams observed, polling officials, security officers, and party agents had election duty certificates that allowed them to vote. In addition to party agents, other observer groups were present at the majority of polling streams with EWC observers during the voting process. Local leaders and media were present at some polling streams observed,” they said.

On the Closing and Counting Process, EWC said all polling stations observed by the EWC closed on time. In addition, they said in polling streams observed by the EWC, IEC officials generally followed closing and counting procedures.

“All polling streams observed, the presiding officer sealed the entry to the ballot drums at the end of voting. Elections Watch Observers noted that the presiding officer counted the unused ballot tokens and returned the tokens to the sack in all of the polling streams observed. After the completion of counting, the presiding officer in all of the polling streams observed, returned the ballot tokens to their respective drums and affixed the seals.

“In almost all polling streams observed, sensitive materials such as the Close of Poll Report and Counting Form were sealed in an envelope and signed by the presiding officer and the party agents present. In all of the polling streams observed, Elections Watch Observers reported that the Presiding Officer pasted a copy of the Count Form on the wall at the polling stream,” they said.

With regard to Party Agents, EWC revealed that party agents vigilantly monitored the entire process including set-up, voting, closing and counting.

“Nearly all observed polling streams had at least two-party agents present during the voting, closing, and counting processes. EWC observers noted that party agents from all major political parties and independent candidates were present throughout the day at polling streams observed. Party agents did not present an objection to the Close of Poll report or to the counting of ballot tokens in any of the observed polling streams,” they said.

On the Collation Process, EWC said they deployed 14 regional coordinators to observe the collation process at the 7 IEC Regional Collation Centers and received all reports from its regional coordinators. 

“All EWC observers and party agents were permitted access to observe the collation centers. Other observer groups and media were also present at about half of the collation centers observed. The collation process was not postponed or interrupted at any time in any collation centers observed by EWC. Generally, the IEC officials followed the collation procedures in all the centers observed. 

“During the collation process, there was one instance of discrepancy reported, which was resolved by the IEC Officials. While party agents were present at all collation centers, some observers noted that some party agents did not wait for the completion of the collation process and thus did not sign or collect the collated results form at the end of the process,” they revealed.

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