The final day of voting for the PNM’s new executive took place today, with voter identities remaining confidential, said the party’s Election Oversight Commission (ESC) chairman, Anthony Roberts.
Roberts’ assurances came after renewed concerns were raised by candidates for political leader Karen Nunez Teixeira.
In an interview on Saturday, Roberts told Newsday:
The PNM’s 50th Annual Convention will be held Sunday in Queens Park Savannah, and voters will have the opportunity to vote for one of three candidates vying for political leadership, including incumbent Dr. Keith Lowry. On November 26th and 27th, voters were plagued by inclement weather.
Roberts said members should not fear being identified, punished or rewarded, as Nunez Teixeira’s team has fought.
He assured members that they could vote for any of the three candidates for political leadership, or any other contested office, without fear of repercussions. Attorney Ronald Boynes is also challenging the post of political leader.
On November 30, Nunez Teixeira sent another letter to Roberts stating that the number of voters given by the voting agent upon entering the polling place would be retained and put into the ballot box along with that person’s election booklet. raised concerns.
Nunez-Tesheira, through her campaign manager and attorney Peter Taylor, argues that the process undermines the principles of anonymity and confidentiality on which internal elections are based. Roberts acknowledged it was a process, but assured voters would not be identified.
“The sequential numbers are written in the book, but since the sheet leaves are removed for checking (of the ballot), no one can tell which book they are from.
“They are all pierced and cut apart to be counted.”
On this basis, Roberts said Nunez Teixeira had no grounds for concern and welcomed her challenge to leadership.
He also welcomed concerns and questions, noting that “they are all PNM members, after all.”
He said he was happy with the process being straightforward and transparent.
“Registered members are free to vote for any candidate of their choice without reward or punishment, as suggested by Ms Nunez Teixeira.
“Whatever we do, we do it above the table, not under it.”
Nunez-Tesheira questioned the Electoral Commission’s ability to cross-reference voters by three-day ballots over nine days, storage of ballots during that period, voter identification, and assigned numbers.
She lost a legal challenge to postpone the vote in the High Court and the Court of Appeals.
In her latest letter, written on behalf of her nominees Kenneth Butcher and Bishop Victor Philippe, Taylor claims she’s been inundated with complaints from members who voted on November 26 and 27. did.
Roberts said ballot custody was clearly identified in the guidelines and that process was underway.
On the third and final day of the convention, Dec. 4, he said the counting of ballots cast on Nov. 26 and 27 would begin at 8:00 a.m. at Woodbrook Youth Facility. .
Taylor questioned the validity of counting ballots at the same time during voting.
He said it is standard for votes to be tallied after the voting process is complete, and that simultaneous tallying during voting is incompatible with transparency and accountability.
Voting on Sunday also begins at 8:00 am and ends at 1:00 pm.
Shortly after the polls ended on December 4, when the tally of votes cast that day began, Roberts said he hoped to announce the party leader and senior officials who will oversee the party for the next two to four years.
An extension of the voting period was called for, given that inclement weather could affect the November 26th and 27th votes.
Over 12,000 members voted from a list of 105,894 registered voters.
Roberts understands that members have limited time to vote, but encouraged them to come early and take advantage of the five hours set aside for this exercise.
Twelve of the 16 positions, including political leadership, are contested. Four of his seats have already been declared as there are no objections.
PNM’s Golden Convention opens at 7:00 am for registration and is expected to end around 7:00 pm. Rowley will be speaking at the convention, which will also feature a paran evening, entertainment from his top artists in the country, a kids zone and a food court.