Concerns rise over absentee ballot tabulation
Senior requests AG to seek injunctions on absentee ballots
By: L.N. Reklai
November 2, 2016 (Koror) Letters from Committee for Surangel Whipps Jr. for President and Senator Uduch Sengebau-Senior to the Palau Election Commission and the Attorney General, voice concerns over handling and tabulation of absentee ballots. The letters make recommendations to the two agencies on how to achieve a more transparent process for the tabulation of absentee ballots. [restrict]
In the letter to PEC, Surangel Whipps Jr. for President Committee expressed their appreciation for “outstanding efforts of the Palau Election Commission personnel, volunteers and police officers….for conducting a successful, transparent and peaceful general election.”
In the same letter, the Committee expressed concern for a transparent process for receiving and tabulating absentee ballots and requests that “all the ballots received be kept in the original envelopes and boxes they were delivered in”, a log of all incoming absentee ballots mailings mailed and received be kept, “that mailing envelopes and boxes for absentee remain sealed until the day they are to be tabulated” and that sorting of ballots be done “in presence of election observers”.
The letter requests that the tabulators tables be set up in such a way that observers can move freely around them observing the tabulation to “ensure fair and open” process.
They also requested that PEC personnel picking up ballots from post office or airport be escorted by police officers.
In a separate letter to Attorney General, Senator Uduch Senior raises concern over the reported errors with absentee ballots sent out. She stated that some ballots sent are have the wrong state and some were reported to have no ballots inside.
She said that the instruction letter sent by PEC to voters who received wrong ballots, have contradicting instructions. It tells voter to cross out the name of the candidate of the wrong state on their ballot and print the name of the preferred candidate of their State. The letter further states that if a person cast a ballot for a state that they are not registered in, the ballot may be invalidated.
Senior requests Attorney General to file an injunction to separate those ballots from absentee ballots within Palau and to stop PEC from invalidating such ballots.
Last day for Palau Election Commission to receive the absentee ballots is November 7, 2016. [/restrict]