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By Elesha George

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The government is planning to make changes to the way ballots are counted during a general election.

Next Thursday, government MPs will table the Representation of The People (Amendment) Bill 2021 which seeks to make the counting of votes more efficient, and will strengthen the rules under which a general election is conducted.

Currently, each presiding officer is required to count the votes at each polling station, and the returning officer facilitates the process.

In the Explanatory Memorandum obtained by Observer, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said this process takes an “inordinately long period of time.”

He said the proposed change had been recommended by several Observer missions who oversaw previous elections.

The amendment proposes that votes be counted after polling stations have been closed by the presiding officer and the results transmitted after counting to the returning officer.

He believes the change will make the process more efficient by cutting down on the length of time results are made available.

The bill also proposes to increase the age at which the Supervisor of Elections vacates the office from 65 to 75 years “to bring it into conformity with the age at which members of the Electoral Commission vacate office.”