THE Member of Parliament (MP) for East Are’are has suggested that as part of the electoral reform the counting of ballot papers should be considered and conducted at all voting stations immediately at the close of polling.
Peter Kenilorea Jnr made the suggestion his contribution to the debate on the Provincial Amendment Bill 2023 on Wednesday.
He said this is an important transparency measure.
The Provincial Amendment Bill seeks parliamentary approval for the staging of all provincial assembly elections and the Honiara City Council with the Parliamentary (National General Elections) on the say day.
In his contribution, MP Kenilorea Jr, who is also the Chair of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee, said he looks forward to a draft Bill which may consider vote counting right after polling at the polling station.
“This is to get rid of the counting centres so that we get results much faster and in a more transparent way.”
MP Kenilorea Jnr said this is something happening around the world and is making election experiences more transparent.
“It’s much faster and reduces the notion of doubts in election results. It can also affect legitimacy and mandate that is being given.
“And to us sitting here, people are still questioning some results. So, let’s find ways where we can do better,” he said.
MP Kenilorea Jnr said he has been traveling around the world and the Speaker of Kenya Parliament has mentioned to him that this process was implemented in the last presidential election [in Kenya] where counting was conducted right after polling at the station.
“And that was the best outcome for them. It got rid of those behind-the-scenes things.”
The Chair of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee said people’s perception of corrupt practises during the moving of ballot boxes can be reduced if such changes are undertaken.
“For people’s perception, it might be real, it might not be real but let’s minimise the perception of corrupt practises when you move ballot boxes from polling stations to counting centres.”
Mr Kenilorea Jr also suggested the installation of satellites at polling centres so people can see real time action of the counting process as part of a transparent process.
“So that our people can watch people counting where ever they are from around the world. That’s transparency and that is how we can move our nation forward and grow our democracy to be stronger,” he said.
By MOFFAT MAMU