How Does The Electoral Process Work?

Director of Elections Orette Fisher at today's ECJ Press Conference discussing the current recount
Director of Elections Orette Fisher at today’s ECJ Press Conference discussing the current recount

What is a magisterial recount?

Following the final count, the candidates have four days to decide if they want to proceed with a magisterial recount. This is hinged on the affidavit of a credible witness that a returning officer, in counting the votes, has improperly counted or rejected any ballot papers or has made an incorrect addition of the number of ballots cast for any candidate. The applicant must make a security deposit to the to the Resident Magistrate of the parish in which the final count was done, which is currently $40.

  1. If applications for a recount of the votes in two or more constituencies are made under this section to the
    same RM, he/she shall first proceed with the recount in the constituency in respect of which the first application is made to him, and successively with the recounts in the constituency or constituencies in respect of which applications were later made, and all such recounts shall proceed continuously from day to day until the last of them has been completed.
  2. The RM shall appoint and give written notice to the candidates or their agents of a time and place at which he will proceed to recount the votes.
  3. The RM shall also summon the returning officer and his election clerk to attend at the time and place so appointed with the parcels containing the used and counted, the unused, the rejected, and the spoiled ballot papers, or the original statements of the poll signed by the presiding officers, as the case may be, with respect to or in consequence of which such recount is to take place.
  4. Every candidate shall be entitled to be present and to be represented by an agent at any proceedings under
    this section.
  5. The RM shall proceed to recount all the votes or ballot papers returned by the returning officer, and shall open the sealed envelopes containing the used and counted, the unused, the rejected, and the spoiled ballot papers.
  6. At the end of the process, the RM shall declare the recount at an end, seal up all the ballot papers in separate packages, and certify the result of the recount to the returning officer, who shall, in writing, declare to be elected the candidate certified as having the highest number of votes. This must be done whether the results are the same as previously declared, or different.

What happens in the event of a tie?

Following the final count, if two or more candidates poll the same number of votes, this is what Section 45 says, “Whenever on such final count of votes, an equality of votes is found to exist between any two or more candidates and an additional vote would entitle one of such candidates to be declared elected, the returning officer shall give such additional vote.”

If the tie remains after the magisterial recount, the returning officer “shall have and cast another or deciding vote.”