Voting Suspended After Ballot Mix-up

Voting in Juba South Constituency in Central Equatoria State was stopped yesterday after a mix-up of ballot papers in two payams.

Voting Suspended After Ballot Mix-up
The head of Cueibet polling station in Lakes State speaks to Gurtong’s Manyang Mayom. [© Gurtong]

By Juma John Stephen

JUBA, 13 April 2010 (Gurtong) –The shocker downed on 77 voters who had cast their ballots by 4pm yesterday at Gumba Payam Hall.

“The polling started smoothly in the morning but we discovered later that the voting list for the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly was not correct. What we had been using was meant for polling center  number 4 within this same payam and  not ours that is supposed to be centre number 2”, said the head of Gumba Payam Hall centre Onyala Richard Okan.

The fate of the voters remains unknown as the election officials are still in communication with the State Elections Committee for a new list.

Okan, however, said lack of transport was the biggest challenge in his efforts to get the new lists.

A survey by Gurtong at polling stations in Kator South, ‘B’ Court South, Kor-romula, Tokiman West, Gudele, and Munuki reveled discontent among most voters who felt the process was too slow besides cases of missing names.

“I am a voter and here is my slip but I have looked for my name in vain. I am now appealing to the National Elections Commission to authorise the polling officials to allow the people to vote as long as they have the voting slips”, said a voter, Soro Daniel.

Similarly, there was a clear absence of the disabled persons, most of who had given up after failing to spot their names on the lists and the notice boards at the polling stations.

On a tickling note, most illiterate voters lamented that they could not trace their candidates of choice since they looked different on the ballot papers.

“What we know is that Salva Kiir Mayardit always puts on a hat but we cannot see him that way. We are not sure if that is him on the ballot we are supposed to vote for”, said an elderly woman.

Elsewhere, more than 1,000 voters turned up to cast their votes on the second day of the elections at Marialbai in Aweil West County in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.

The Constituency Election Officer for Ayat Constituency Paul Majak said the turnout on the second day had tripled the first day and expressed fear that the exercise could not be completed within the stipulated three days.

“The polling process might not be completed as scheduled due to the late start and the high turnout today and the expected turnout tomorrow”, he told Gurtong on telephone.

“I will find out more information from the State High Committee on possibilities of extension if we cannot accomplish the task tomorrow,” Majak said.

However, by the time of going to press, Sudan’s elections commission had announced a two-day extension of voting until April 15, after many voters experienced delays in several parts of the country.
(Additional reporting by Peter Ochalla)

Posted in: Home, Elections
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