By Mustapha Ceesay
The Gambia with a population of little over 2 million people is today voting for the first time, since the fall of former President Yahya Jammeh in 2016.
· 962, 157 voters registered
· 1554 polling stations opened across the country
· Six presidential candidates are contesting
Time and end of voting
· Voting started at 8:00am and would end at 5:00pm. But voters already on the queue by 5pm would be allowed to cast their votes.
Where Do I Vote?
· All voters are supposed to cast their votes where they obtained their voter’s cards during the voter registration. Each voter’s card has a polling station code and the respective constituency for easier identification by the voter.
Want you need to vote?
For one to vote in today’s election, the person must:
· have a Gambian voter’s card
· go to the right polling station
· have a sound mind
· not be serving a prison sentence
· have his/her name on the voter register
· not in a state of inebriation
How to vote?
The Gambia has a secret ballot system. As such, except for the visually impaired persons (they are escorted by someone to vote), the system gives electorates the room for privacy to vote for the candidate of their choice without the knowledge of a third party.
· The voter walks into the right polling station
· Shows his voter’s card to the polling assistant
· The polling assistant identifies and directs the voter to the right queue within the polling station
· At the right queue, the Assistant Polling Officer verifies the voter’s card
· When a voter’s card is verified, his/her details are ticked in the register
· The Polling Officer dips the left forefinger of the voter into an indelible ink which shows the voter is eligible
· The voter goes to the presiding officer to receive his marble (token)
· The voter enters the polling booth to drop the marble into the ballot drum of his candidate of choice and leaves the booth
The country has a spot counting system. As the name implies, the electoral commission counts all votes cast at every polling station on the spot as soon as voting ends.
The voting would end at 5pm local time today. Vote counting and announcement would later follow the closure of the polls. Then, the results are expected to be would be announced either tonight or on Sunday.