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 Politics: Gambian politics
 Paper V Marbles,Clarification by IEC ?
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toubab1020



10811 Posts

Posted - 13 Nov 2020 :  09:37:02  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
SNIPPET:
"Mr Jah further said the Gambian people must first be educated on the paper ballot before anything. He also doubts the IEC will be able to sensitise people on the new system within three months."
==========

He does have a valid point I think will the IEC make a "Clarification" ?

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https://standard.gm/aprc-makes-case-against-paper-ballot-0/



By Mafugi Ceesay on November 11, 2020

The deputy spokesperson of APRC yesterday told The Standard that his party cannot trust the person or the European company that the electoral commission wanted to contract for the production of election materials, which include the paper ballot it intends to introduce to replace the marble.

Dodou Jah said the IEC’s position that the printing of the ballot papers will be in Europe and that party representatives will be at the airport to receive them is not sufficient to earn his trust. “I don’t trust that company. Also, the time frame given by the electoral commission for the introduction of the ballot paper is short. You cannot introduce the ballot paper when people don’t understand how it is used,” Jah explained.

He further said that his party is not against the IEC’s intention to introduce the paper ballot system but the 2021 election is too early for it.

“Questions like who is going to be responsible for the printing and where will the ballots be printed, at home or abroad? And will the paper ballots have serial numbers? What happens when voters make errors and need a fresh ballot paper?” Mr Jah asked.

He said these among many questions were put to the IEC but they are yet to provide any convincing explanations, adding that the APRC is interested in answers to these concerns.

Mr Jah further said the Gambian people must first be educated on the paper ballot before anything. He also doubts the IEC will be able to sensitise people on the new system within three months.

“So you can see that there are lots of areas to be covered to ensure it is trustworthy and unless the electoral commission provides tangible answers to these questions, they cannot jump up and bring in the paper ballot. The peace and security of the country is more important to the APRC than IEC and its work. They must not ignore people’s concerns and in fact, it is the National Assembly that will decide on the election bill. The IEC cannot force it and if they want to force it on people, the APRC will go out and sensitise the people. We cannot say yes to paper ballot when we are not prepared for it. The APRC is not against paper ballot but we must accept it with responsibility,” he concluded.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

toubab1020



10811 Posts

Posted - 21 Nov 2020 :  15:25:47  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here is the "Clarification" As the IEC highlight the members of the NA must be involved before any polling by voters can take place,hmmm.... maybe an unforeen problem ?
++++++++++

SNIPPET:

"The chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission has said conducting the 2021 presidential election using marbles would be a nightmare and a near impossible task for the electoral body."

++++++++++


https://standard.gm/iec-using-marbles-in-2021-will-be-a-nightmare-0/


By Omar Bah on November 19, 2020

The chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission has said conducting the 2021 presidential election using marbles would be a nightmare and a near impossible task for the electoral body.

Alieu Momarr Njai said the exercise would be even more difficult with the proliferation of political parties in the country.

“The headache we have now is that in the past, there have been only 3 or 4 presidential contestants but now we have 16 political parties and we are expecting some independent candidates. So, there is a possibility of about 20 candidates for the 2021 presidential election. Imagine how many ballot boxes would be needed to serve every polling station in The Gambia,” Njai told The Standard.

Some Gambians, among them political parties have spoken openly against the IEC’s plans to introduce paper ballot in the 2021 presidential election arguing that Gambian voters are not mentally prepared for it.

Speaking further in defense of the paper ballot, Chairman Njai said: “The IEC cannot and has no intention to impose the paper ballot on Gambians. But one thing clear is that voting with the marbles in 2021 with all these political parties would be nearly impossible and would even make it complicated to transport all those ballots overseas for the diaspora voters.”

He said nothing is conclusive just yet but they are still engaging the relevant stakeholders.

“It is not a matter of whether the voters are sensitised or not. What is clear is that the whole world and even our neighbours Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry and Senegal are all using paper ballots. I see nothing that should stop us from using the paper ballot,” he said.

Chairman Njai said if the new constitution is to go through and the IEC were to conduct both the presidential and the parliamentary elections on the same day, they would be using hundreds of ballots which would make it nearly impossible with marbles.

“Yes, we agree there should be a massive sensitisation but as far as we are concerned, the paper ballot is the way forward. We are confident that we can go ahead with it. But we are also aware that we cannot go ahead with the paper ballot if the current laws remain,” he said.

He said the ballot paper is as transparent as the marble.

“Our system is such that no one can invade it. No one can rig elections in this country especially with the spot counting. That is not possible. Our system is very good and transparent. We give all the political parties the lists of voters in every polling station. That makes it impossible to rig the election,” he said. Njai downplayed reports of irregularities in the Kerr Jarga and Niamina West by-elections, saying both contests were held transparently.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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toubab1020



10811 Posts

Posted - 21 Nov 2020 :  15:35:21  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote



https://standard.gm/iec-the-marbles-versus-the-paper-ballot/


By D.A Jawo on November 18, 2020


The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has just released its timetable for its next election cycle, and one surprising inclusion is a referendum for a new Constitution despite the fact that the Draft Constitution 2020 had been thrown out by the National Assembly and there is no guarantee of another draft being available before the next presidential election.

There is no doubt that a majority of Gambians are hoping and praying for a new Constitution before the next presidential elections, but obviously, there is no guarantee that it could happen. While we are aware that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice had been asked by Cabinet to try and revive the rejected Draft Constitution, but there is no guarantee that the same Draft could this time round pass in the same National Assembly. There are of course two possibilities of re-introducing the Draft to the National Assembly; either addressing the concerns of those that voted against it, which included President Adama Barrow’s term limit, which of course has the risk of it being voted out by those who voted in its favour; or re-introducing the same Draft without any amendments; thus risking those who voted against it, doing so again. Whatever the case however, it appears that the AG Chambers, and by extension, the government, are in a Catch 22 situation and it would be quite interesting to see how they are going to address this situation.

However, while the debate about the Draft Constitution is continuing, but its outcome may not have much direct impact on the IEC, but one aspect that has quite a lot to do with it is no doubt the intentions for the Gambia to migrate from the use of marbles in our voting process, which is unique to the Gambia, to the use of paper ballots, like the rest of the world. A loud debate had been raging on since the IEC mooted the idea; with some people welcoming it while others opposing it as being unnecessary. “If it is not broken, why try to fix it?” asked a proponent of maintaining the marble voting system. He said the marble system is more favourable to the country where a majority of the voters cannot read and write and therefore, it would not be easy for them to use the paper ballot. Therefore, those in favour of maintaining the marbles insisted that the IEC should maintain this unique system despite the Gambia being the only country in the whole world still using marbles in our elections.

However, supporters of the migration to the paper ballot system said it is time for the Gambia to ditch this archaic system and join the rest of the international community to adopt the paper ballot system of voting. “If countries with lower literacy rates like Guinea Bissau can use the paper ballot with success, there is no reason why Gambian voters cannot adapt to it with little sensitization,” said one of the supporters of the paper ballot system. He said we are assuming that Gambians are the dullest people on earth by insisting that we do not have the brains to adapt to the system like everyone else. He is convinced that the paper ballot system is much easier to use and more transparent than the marbles. “The paper ballot is not only much simpler to use, but with serial numbering, it is also much more-fraud-proof than the marbles,” said an advocate of the paper ballot system.

However, regardless of whatever arguments the different sides would put forward, there is no question that the logistics of operating the paper ballot system would be much simpler than the marbles. Of course, with a few political parties as we used to have in this country, it would not have been difficult to continue using the marbles with little problems, but now that we have at least 16 political parties and still counting, one can imagine the logistical nightmare of not only providing drums for all the candidates in all the thousands of polling stations, but even transporting those drums all over the country, and even finding enough space to place them in the polling booths would be difficult. If we were to just take one small constituency with ten polling stations and 16 candidates, as an example, we are talking about 160 ballot drums, and if you multiply that with the number of constituencies, some of which are much larger, we are certainly talking about thousands of ballot drums. You can also imagine how confusing it would be for an unsophisticated voter getting into a small room with all those ballot drums lined up and he/she is required to go around looking for his/her preferred candidate before casting his/her marble.

However, in the case of the paper ballots, all the 16 candidates would need only one ballot box in each polling booth and it would be in the open where every voter would drop their ballots.

Another argument put forward by supporters of the continuation of the use of the marbles is the possible difficulty of uneducated voters identifying their candidates on the ballot paper. However, each candidate would not only be required to provide his/her photo, but also his/her party’s symbol and colour and therefore, the voter is not likely to be confronted with such a problem as he/she would have had enough indicators to help identify his/her candidate.

Therefore, now that the IEC has expressed the intention of extending the vote to Gambians in the diaspora, one can imagine how ridiculous it would look like for our election officials to travel all over the world with iron drums and bags full of marbles in order for our compatriots in the diaspora to cast their ballots? That is certainly not practical.

Another significant difference between the two systems is that while in the case of the paper ballots, there is the opportunity to keep the ballots for a very long time for reference purposes, but in the case of the marbles, the IEC can only keep them as long as the next elections as they are the same marbles used for all elections.

Therefore, from the above, it is quite obvious that there are more advantages in using the paper ballots than the marbles. All that would be required is for the IEC to embark on an extensive sensitization campaign well before the next cycle of elections. However, in such a system, the onus of sensitization is more on the political parties and their candidates than anyone else. This is because it is in their paramount interest to ensure that the voters easily identify their candidates when they get hold of the ballot paper.

While the debate about the pros and cons of the continuous use of the marbles versus the migration to paper ballot should continue, but there appears to be enough convincing reason for the Gambia to migrate to paper ballot in the next cycle of elections. There is absolutely no justifiable reason why the Gambia should continue to cling on to the archaic system of the use of marbles in our elections when the rest of the world has moved on to something much more modern and practical. The Gambia cannot afford to be among the smallest countries in the world and at the same time continue to defy doing what the rest of the world is doing, just because we want to remain unique. We need to move on.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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