Senate proposes to extend receiving date of ballots
PEC to print non-machine readable ballots on island
By: L.N. Reklai
(Ngerulmud, Melekeok) Senate bill 9-212, seeking to extend the date for Election Commission to receive absentee ballots by few days, maybe muted by the decision of Palau Election Commission yesterday to print ballots on island using regular paper as opposed to machine readable ballots off-island. [restrict]
The bill attempted to extend the time for Election Commission to receive ballots “to ensure that all votes will be counted even if all absentee voters receive their ballots late.”
In the bill findings, it stresses that this will be one time measure given the “unusual” circumstances that have risen during this time.
According to report from Election Commission, the Board had made a decision to print ballots on island in order to expedite the sending of the absentee ballots off-island.
The trade off will be that the ballots will have to be counted manually rather than using the electronic ballot reader machine.
Senator Uduch Senior expressed dissatisfaction over this whole delay which she said could have been avoided if Attorney General’s office had filed a motion to stay the judgment of the Trial Court pending an appeal and allowing PEC to proceed to print ballots.
The draft bill approved by majority of Senate Committee of the Whole, proposes that absentee ballots for the 2016 general election be postmarked no later than day of the election and reach the Election Commission no later than the 10th day after the election, instead of 7 as stated in the Rules & Regulations of Palau Election Commission, extending the deadline by 3 days. [/restrict]