PHILIPSBURG–United People’s (UP) party #23 candidate Francisco Lacroes on Tuesday alleged that there had been election fraud at a particular polling station after two folded A4 papers taped together were found in the ballot bin at the polling station in question.
He made the allegation during the public hearing with the Central Voting Bureau at Parliament Building on Tuesday, where eligible voters had an opportunity to file an objection against the preliminary January 9, snap parliamentary election results.
During the hearing, Lacroes said it had been brought to his attention that during the ballot count at polling station #7 at Rupert I. Maynard Youth Community Centre in St. Peters, two blank A4 papers had been found in the ballot box taped together and folded to look like a ballot. He said this should not have happened. Lacroes said this seemed to be an indication that there was not just vote buying, but also ballot buying taking place on election day. When the matter was raised with the workers at the polling station, Lacroes said they had been “highly annoyed.”
He wanted to know how this can be addressed. “I would not know what would happen in this case… What happens when someone throws an empty piece of paper in the bin and walks out and sells that (authentic) ballot (that they received–Ed.). Democracy has been hijacked in my opinion,” he noted. He was also concerned about the number of invalid votes at this polling station in particular.
In response, Voting Bureau Chairperson Jason Rogers said, while he cannot confirm whether vote buying had occurred as there is no evidence to this effect, any form of election fraud is unacceptable. Rogers suggested that persons who are concerned about vote buying and ballot buying, address this with the competent authorities as the Central Voting Bureau, does not have this competence.
“I suggest that if you have evidence of this, address it with the competent authorities,” Rogers said, adding that A4 papers should not have been found in the ballot bin.
While Lacroes’ request for a recount was denied as it had no grounds, the Voting Bureau decided on its own accord to recount all the votes at this polling station since some discrepancies were found in the process verbal at this polling station. “We find it is important to ensure sound results for that polling station and will recount polling station #7,” Rogers said. A recount of this and two other polling stations was carried out during Tuesday’s hearing.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.facebook.com/heraldsxm/photos/a.1251060041587810/3381239531903173/?type=3&theater