A Case for Ballot Papers – Transparency and Accountability?

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By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT

Watch it like a hawk! #VisualTransparency

Ballot Paper Boxes can be lighter, plastic and see through. Bring them into the polling station for all to see they are empty. Designated party officials watch your boxes like a hawk until they are counted.

Marble boxes are mostly metal and heavy duty to carry the heavy marble tokens. Each party has their own ballot. Not necessary for paper ballot. Options are on the paper one box for them all. Simple, cheaper but will require better counting and more literate polling station officials. No mistakes pls. No mix ups.

#BallotPapers #MarbleBoxes

Pep Guardiola with Clear Ballot Box

Rejoinder to “Gambia to use paper ballots by next elections”

http://fatunetwork.net/gambia-to-use-paper-ballots-by-next-elections/

1. Transparency – it’s important to have a very clear record of the elections results which can be challenged in court, today, tomorrow and forever. Unlike marbles which are simple and what most Gambians are accustomed to, ballot papers can be scanned and preserved for records. They are lighter, cheaper and easier to transport.

2. Ballot stuffing – this is certainly a problem, however, it’s the same problem with the sealed marble drums. I propose that the key to eliminating this is on the spot counting and vigilance at the polling station.

Ballots are mostly stuffed during transportation, on the spot counting ruined Jammeh’s plan of previously marble stuffing during the transportation of marble boxes. I’ve interviewed elections observers who were responsible for their party’s boxes. One explained to me how his marble box was about to be transported without his presence when he refused he was almost attacked for refusing. After standing his ground bravely they had no choice but to take the man and his box together. Their excuse for his absence, there’s not enough space for him in the vehicle but only for his marble box.

On the spot counting and vigilant observers especially those in charge of their party boxes. Don’t leave the box for one second. If one must use the restroom alert your colleague to watch that box like a hawk until they’re counted.

3. Literacy – I think this will still be the major problem with paper ballots. However, Gambians still have void votes in past elections. People will always do stupid things like leaving a marble on the drum instead of inside. Same thing with ballot papers. We need to create animations of how to vote and air them in TV so people see what to do and what not to do. I don’t think it’s very complicated but we need more progressive solutions to simple problems. Looking at how many countries use ballot papers I don’t think Gambians are soo illiterate that we can’t use ballot papers. It will take time to get used to it. Practice should be planned via the Constitutional Referendum.

4. Diaspora Enfranchisement – yeah this one too is a big one which will be hard to do with marble boxes. Ballot papers will pave the way for the Diaspora to vote. Imagine having a Diaspora voting with marble boxes and transporting them anywhere will be a nightmare.

Marble Boxes

I agree entirely with IEC Chairman. In fact am extremely in awe of how progressive his comments and vision is on elections. I can’t wait to see the man who stood against Jammeh to declare the elections results which banish the Dictator to EQ Guinea.

Here is a man who seems to have a similar vision. I was heavily involved with Show Jammeh the Red Card. Supporting youths to tour the country (twice) to get young people their votes card. In some instances, we paid for their replacement with no strings attached. Just a stern warning that things will continue to be worse off if we vote Jammeh back into office. Hindsight is a blessing, Barrow is disappointing, however, Gambians won’t allow Barrow the same leeway.

As someone who supported the youth-friendly #NotTooYoungToRun and #GamWomenInParliament I find myself agreeing with the IEC Chairman. Here are just a few more points where I find myself nodding my head in agreement with the IEC Chairman. For me, this has always been what Elections and Politics have mostly been about.

1. Voter apathy – getting rid of voter apathy by conducting voter registration campaigns to encourage more first time voters, young and old.

2. Inclusive – getting more women involved in Gambian politics and into leadership positions as they do form the majority population but are relegated to the sidelines. Oh and young people too.

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