Referendum Day is nigh, ABEC says it is ready

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The electorate can expect a smooth process tomorrow as the country conducts a referendum to determine whether to stick with the Privy Council or move to the Caribbean Court of Justice in its appellate jurisdiction.
This is according to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC), Elisa Graham, who also told OBSERVER media, “Everything is in place for referendum day; our first referendum will take place on Tuesday 6th November, so everything is in place on our end. We had our final meeting with our returning officers on Saturday just to brief them again as to what is going to be required of their presiding officers and information clerks.”
In addition to that, a meeting was held with the referendum monitors on Friday afternoon and they were sworn in.
Graham said some people who signed up to be monitors, and who were supposed to have been sworn in, did not show up. So today, she would be able to indicate the total number of monitors expected on referendum day, since a few more should be sworn in today.
The monitors are required for the process in accordance with the Constitutional Referendum Regulations.
Speaking of the process tomorrow, she detailed, “Polling stations will open at 6 a.m. similarly to that in a general election, and they will close at 6 p.m.” 
People who are still in line at 6 p.m. will be allowed to vote, using the over 100 polling stations that were set up to ensure the process is not time-consuming. 
“There are 171 polling stations in all. The referendum monitors will be present to monitor the activities throughout the day as well as the count. The presiding officers will call the returning officers who will be stationed at ABEC’s headquarters and then the tabulation will take place from that and after everything would have come in, the Supervisor of Elections, Lorna Simon, will issue the official results,” the PRO said.
Elaborating on the counting process she said, “The counting will take place in the respective polling stations, so we anticipate that the results will come in a bit earlier than that of a general election which is done in a central location.”
In order for the referendum vote to pass, it needs to get two-thirds support of the voter turnout.
Graham is encouraging the electorate to go out and “be part of history because it is the first time Antigua and Barbuda is having a referendum, and it is an important issue.”

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