Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Election hiccups: Rowley’s wife unable to vote

SHARON Rowley did not vote for her husband Dr Keith Rowley yesterday as he sought to become the political leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) for a second successive term yesterday.

It is not that she did not want to.

Sharon Rowley’s name was misspelt on the party’s voters’ list and she was unable to cast a ballot for her husband.

This was one of several “teething problems” experienced by voters as they turned up at various polling stations across the country to participate in the PNM’s first “one man, one vote” internal elections.

Rowley, who spearheaded the initiative to allow the “one man, one vote” policy in the PNM, was not immune to the hiccups experienced in this inaugural activity.

Voting started at 8 a.m. yesterday.

Around 10. 53 a.m., Rowley arrived at the Diego Martin West polling station, which was located at St Anthony’s College, Westmoorings to cast his vote.

By that time some 200 people were said to have already voted at the school.

Others stood in line waiting for their opportunity to do so.

“I did not expect this kind of crowd,” Maria Alexis said.

The length of time spent in line waiting to vote was one of the concerns raised by voters at the Diego Martin West polling station.

Rowley addressed these concerns, saying “some hiccups” were expected and that the party will work out the kinks the next time.

“I am a little anxious with respect to the logistics, but we have worked quite hard, we have made best efforts to enable our party’s members to take part in this process and so far from all the reports things are going very smoothly around the country. I got reports from across the country and the interest is very high,” Rowley said.

“We expect that there will be some hiccups here and there, but you must remember where we are coming from. We are coming from a place where we had a database where people joined the party all over the country and would have moved around, unlike the EBC (Elections and Boundaries Commission) there is no continuous enumeration so some people might think that they are in the PNM in one area, forgetting where they joined the party and the records are by the constituency where you joined, unless you had in fact taken steps to change your position,” he said.

Rowley lauded the participation in the process and said his wife Sharon was also a victim of the logistical issues

“The process has not stopped, we will discover problems today which we will fix, for example, if you turn up like my wife turned up today her name was on the list. We checked and it was there but in transposing it in the data entry some one of the youngsters, probably tired after hours of work, put her name down as...misspelt her name. So if your name is misspelt and everything is correct but your name is misspelt, technically speaking, she is not on the list,” Rowley said.

“She is disappointed she can’t vote for me, but she understands that the process will be improved.”

Rowley said the issue of the length of time being taken to vote was because, unlike a general election, voters are voting for 15 positions as opposed to one.