Postal ballot hiccup

National

VOTERS living away from the electorate they are registered in cannot use the postal vote option under the law because it has not been implemented.
The Electoral Commission has no guidelines yet on postal voting, despite it being allowed for in the Organic Law on national and local-level government elections.
A commission spokesman said yesterday voters living or working outside their electorates would just have to find their way back there to exercise their right to vote.
THE oversight was discovered after The National made enquiries at the commission about postal voting which should be available to voters living outside their electorates – in the country and abroad.
Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato is expected to make a statement on the issue this weekend.
But the commission’s policy officers admitted yesterday that it was too late now to facilitate the postal voting option in the law for the 2017 general election.
Those who had moved out of their electorates since 2012 to live and work elsewhere have no option but to return there to cast their votes. The Organic Law on National and Local-Level Government elections states that those who intend to vote by post must register with their returning officer, who after being satisfied, will deliver or post to the applicant a postal vote certificate and a postal ballot paper.
It will take time, something the commission does not have to its advantage at the moment.
The law States that those intending to vote by post must apply for a postal vote certificate and postal ballot paper.
It applies to electors who during the polling period:
Will not be within the electorate he or she is enrolled, or be within 16km by the nearest practicable route of a polling booth open in the electorate for which he or she is enrolled;
Will be travelling or be away from his or her residence under conditions which will preclude him or her from voting at a polling booth open in the electorate for which he or she is enrolled;
Is seriously ill or infirm, and by reason of that illness or infirmity, will be precluded from attending at a polling booth to vote, or, in the case of a woman, will be reason of approaching maternity or of the necessity for caring for her infant be precluded from attending at a polling booth to vote;
Is by reason of his or her membership of a religious order or of his or her religious beliefs: precluded from voting at a polling booth, or precluded from voting at a reasonably accessible polling place;
Is a citizen residing abroad, may make application for a postal vote certificate and postal ballot paper.
It says: “An application under this section, setting out the grounds upon which the elector claims to vote by post, may be made in writing, or in person or by letter or electronic advice after the 10th day after the issue of the writ for the election to the returning officer for the electorate for which the applicant is enrolled. “An application under this section shall not be deemed to have been duly made, if it reaches the officer to whom it is made, after the commencement of the polling period for the election for which the applicant is enrolled.”

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