Saba Explains Rules Voting Stations

Head of the Main and Central Voting Bureau Island Governor Jonathan Johnson shows the new, transparent ballot box during a meeting with the members of the voting stations. Photo: Government of Saba

The Bottom, Saba- Voters may not wear or display promotional material inside the two voting stations on Saba during Election Day this Wednesday, March 20.

Wearing for example a t-shirt or a cap stating the political party and/or candidate will not be allowed when a person enters the voting station to cast his or her vote. These and other regulations were discussed in a meeting of the Main and Central Bureau with the members of the voting stations at the Government Administration Building on Monday afternoon.

The instruction of the voting stations, supplied by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK, clearly states that no campaigning is allowed inside the voting stations. The members of the voting station have the right to intervene if this does happen. For members of the voting bureau it is also forbidden to show any kind of political preference during Election Day, and the interior of the voting station needs to be neutral.

Voters are allowed to be present in the voting station as observers, as well as members of a political party, but they must be quiet, not disrupt the order or try to influence a voter in their choice. Voters cannot enter the voting booth with another person, including children. Taking a selfie or a photo of the voting ballot inside the voting booth is not allowed. The chairperson of the voting station is responsible for the maintaining of order. Head of the Main and Central Voting Bureau Island Governor Jonathan Johnson emphasized that the Electoral Law will be strictly abided.

Ballot boxes

There will be two ballot boxes at each of the two voting stations: one ballot box for the Island Council elections and one ballot box for the Electoral College. Only eligible voters with the Dutch nationality may vote for the Electoral College, the body that elects the Members of the First Chamber, the Senate. There are a little over 1,100 eligible voters for the Island Council and 905 eligible voters for the Electoral College.

The ballot boxes are new, and they are completely transparent. The ballot boxes will be clearly marked Island Council and Electoral College. Voters with a voting card for both Island Council and the Electoral College elections will vote for the Island Council first to prevent a mix-up of the ballots. These voters will go back in the line and subsequently vote for the Electoral College.

This year, two international observers will be present at the March 20 elections. They observers are of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), a non-profit, non-partisan electoral assistance organization that has worked with over 145 countries in the past 30 years. This year again, just as four years ago, Lia van den Berg of the Dutch municipality Hollands Kroon is assisting the Public Entity Saba with the preparations of the elections.

The voting stations, the Fire Station in The Bottom and the Eugenius Johnson Center in Windwardside, will open at 7:30am sharp and close at 9:00pm for the counting of the votes. The votes for the Island Council will be counted first, followed by the Electoral College. Later that evening, Head of the Main and Central Voting Bureau Jonathan Johnson will announce the preliminary results. Two days later, on Friday, the Main and Central Voting Bureau will verify the election results and declare them final.

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