The guidelines issued by the Justice Ministry leading up to the Monday, September 26, elections (see related story) seem straightforward enough. Campaign activities are to cease two days before, as was customary in the past, which also means all related materials have to be removed by then.
Placing a limit on the size of billboards in light of the hurricane season certainly makes sense and – let’s face it – six by six metres isn’t exactly small. As always, permits for public meetings to end by midnight must be requested beforehand, whereby decisions on whether to allow two or more in one area simultaneously depend on who asked first, as well as the distance between proposed locations and the expected impact on traffic.
On Election Day no politically-tinted gatherings or parades will be permitted within 200 metres of the polls. This might be a little difficult to control, as many polling stations are actually closer to the road than that and motorcades usually accompany party leaders when they go to vote.
However, the authorities plan to use good judgement. This is also why it’s necessary for each party to designate a contact person to enable quick contact with the police in situations that may not be entirely clear.
One major aspect is the prohibition on taking cell phones into the voting booths. This is to prevent people from photographing their filled-in ballots as invoice in case of vote-buying.
A metal detector supposedly will be used to enforce the latter rule. Voters would therefore do well to leave their mobile devices at home or in the car before they even enter the polling station, to avoid problems.
An effort was thus made to “clean up” the democratic process a bit, although it looks like the announced electoral reform to tackle so-called “ship-jumping” by parliamentarians won’t be realised in time. Voters therefore haven’t gained much influence on what happens afterward, but hopefully can at least go to the polls in a more relaxed and unbothered manner.
Source: Daily Herald
Relaxed and unbothered