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All set to vote

ALEX DOWNES, [email protected]

All set to vote

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It all comes down to today.

After three weeks of intense election campaigning, Barbados will be heading to the polls to vote.

From as early as 6 a.m. the polls will be opened and an estimate from the Electoral Department is that as many as 255 833 voters will be queuing up at various centres across the island to cast their ballots. 

A record nine political parties and ten Independents have thrown their political hats in the ring. There will also be an historic 37 women contesting seats.

Last election in February 2013, there were four political parties and four Independents.

Supervisor of Elections Angela Taylor said yesterday they were ready for polling day.

“Much of the last two days has been spent collecting ballot papers from the Government Printery, after which they were checked to ensure they were properly numbered, and that there were no inconsistencies or inaccuracies in the ballot books,” she said.

“In addition, the polling tins for each polling station have been packed with the registration cards, so that when electors attend the polling station to cast their ballot and they don’t have their ID card, the registration card can be referenced,” she noted. 

Taylor also explained that returning officers and election clerks were being given refresher training in the use of an Election Management System, a new software which would be used to enter the results of the count.

She said schools closed at 1 p.m. yesterday to allow election officers to set up the rooms to be used as polling stations for the third ever May-held General Election.

Meanwhile, police have given a thumbs up for good behaviour by those attending meetings during the campaign.

In a statement yesterday, police public relations officer Acting Inspector Rodney Inniss, reported it had been a quiet election season, commending the public, supporters of the various political parties and individual candidates thus far.

Inniss also said police were prepared, despite being the election period being “challenging” on their resources.

“We want to assure all and sundry that we have planned meticulously for this major national event. Police officers will be posted at all polling stations and polling districts islandwide to ensure a safe environment. We will also have police patrols on our highways and byways to ensure law and order to all other normal activities,” he added.

The two major political parties also held their last-lap political meetings at their stomping grounds, with the Democratic Labour Party in Independence Square, The City, and the Barbados Labour Party at the Bay Street Esplanade, St Michael. (AD)