The Daily Herald writes that the Prosecutor’s Office received an accusation of voting fraud on Tuesday, March 17, the day before the election. The official declaration was made by Enrico Klaber, number three SLP candidate, and was backed by the entire SLP party.
The alleged accusation states that a bribe took place to receive one or more votes towards the WIPM party. The prosecutor on Saba said the case is under investigation.
During the official voting count presentation on Friday, Chris Meijvogel stated there were other objections that needed to be brought to light as well. According to Meijvogel, the registration cards were not packed properly before the voting bureau in The Bottom closed at nine o’clock on Wednesday. Meijvogel witnessed that after the counting of the voting ballots, the registration cards were still openly displayed on the table and that officials looked into them as well.
Another objection was that the voting bureau in The Bottom did not open at 7:30am, but at 7:45am. A letter with those complaints was handed over to Governor Johnson and was signed by all members of the SLP party, including Meijvogel. After a short recess, Governor Johnson asked Meijvogel if he felt a recount was necessary, but Meijvogel said there was no need for that.
Johnson stated the objections were duly noted and would be handled accordingly. After the presentation, Johnson mentioned to The Daily Herald that this was the first time in the three elections he witnessed on Saba, that a complaint of this kind was filed. “Everybody has the right to voice their opinion; I have no problem with people objecting. This matter will be looked into and will be taken seriously, so they can be addressed in the next election” Johnson mentioned.
The complaints in full as they were voiced in the public meeting from the Central Electoral Committee on Friday, March 20th.
Saba, March 20th, 2015.
Dear Governor Johnson, chairman of the Central Electoral Committee.
Herewith we, concerned citizens of Saba, want to use our right as mentioned in the Kieswet art. O2, sub 4, and make known some objections with regards to the elections from Wednesday, March 18th observed in the Sunny Valley Youth Center voting bureau.
The voting bureau did not open at 07.30 a.m.
During the voting process it is observed and made a remark about to the chairman of the voting bureau that assistance in the voting boot was permitted to a voter, in violation with the Kieswet art. J28 which states that assistance is allowed only when a voter does have a physical disability.
After the bureau was closed for voting, the voting bureau started with the counting of the stempassen, kiezerspassen and volmachtbewijzen. At least it looked that way.
After that, the whole stack of cards was put at a corner of a table and the ballot box was taken to be emptied. A remark from the public was made that before emptying the ballot box, the quantities of the stempassen, kiezerspassen and volmachtbewijzen had to be announced to the public and the cards should be packed and sealed in separate packs, as mentioned in the Kieswet art. N1 and N2.
The announcement of the numbers was refused and the cards were not packed nor sealed.
The above mentioned articles about packing and sealing, are made to avoid that the cards, after being counted, can be tampered with. This is exactly what happened after the counting of the ballots. The voting bureau went back into the stempassen, kiezerspassen and volmachtbewijzen. The public was not informed why this happened and the public was not informed about whatever resulted of it.
A remark was made by the public to the chairman of voting bureau 1 regarding this matter.
Because the proper procedures were not followed according to the letter of the law, as written in art. N1 and N2 of the Kieswet, there is no way to guarantee the correctness of the count.
According to the chairman of the voting bureau, the above mentioned procedure was done on instructions given by someone outside of local government. The obvious question is: since when and based upon what law, is it allowed to intervene in a local election procedure by a non Saba Island Government authority which even instructs other than is written in the Kieswet and apparently ignoring the authority of the chairman of the Central Electoral Committee ?
During the whole process too many remarks are made about people not living on Saba but voting on Saba; not Dutch citizens not living 5 years on Saba, but voting on Saba. Too many remarks to ignore.
We do request an investigation into this and prefer this investigation done by a neutral independent body.
Attention is needed for the whole process of proxies and what is commonly known, the unlawful way to obtain proxies which has taken place. Too many people are complaining about this. During this election period a complaint has been filed at the Prosecutors Office and maybe more will follow.
We do request a swift and unbiased investigation into this.
All they parties should not be allow near the voting stations in the first place as that intimidating to people and they both equally wrong. That not allowed in Holland or anywheres else but little Saba known for bribes come election time but many turn a blind eye here as they couldn’t find the floor if they fell outs of bed!
Thanks Saffy for pointing out the issue of the polling places. On voting day a SEA of ORANGE and a tinge of BLUE was gathered almost all the way to the door of the polling place in Windwardside. There are setback rules but it seems that the island of Saba does not seem to respect privacy. It also seems that too many people took off work that day just to come and Hang Out by the polling place. Did these people take a sick day or a vacation day from their place of employment? I saw lots of ‘public servants’ not working that day.
I was disappointed that I had to go through a sea of people standing just outside the door in order to get in to vote. Voting is a privilege and is a private matter. I should be able to walk into a polling place get my voting card and draw a curtain in order to have my privacy. The voting booth in Windwardside was even placed so that if the onlookers wanted to they could see me voting. What a travesty by the so called ‘Election Officals’
While we are on the issue…. over 20+ percent of the votes were by ‘Proxy’ someone needs to look into this. Proxy should be replaced by ‘absentee ballot’ or something else. You cannot tell me that we have over 20+% of the Saban population who cannot get to the polls. Reform is needed on this issue as well.
It was not nice to go vote and have people yelling at you while you walking in. Also they was no privacy when voting just walk up to a table and check either the left or right side of the ballot. Anyone in there can see which way your bread was buttered. All them parties people was playing games hang in outside the voting areas and it wrong very wrong. Now we heres all this early proxy votes took place. That a lot of votes to help make sure one or the other party gets in. I heard that some Spanish was promised fridges for they votes early so you will see what comes off the boat in a few weeks. Some of these politicians in Saba more slippery than a water snake in a pit of grease
Well said saffy and so it was not just me.
I heard there were 207 i believe proxies? un heard of an such a tiny place like Saba. you mean to tell me that people could not go vote for themselfs . Reeks of corruption to me. hmm seems that that wazs the only sure way for them to know they had your vote. a aquintance of mine gave their voting card to someone. I had to ask them you young and strong what makes you could not go vote for youself.
this election should be called proxie election. as well all voters were demanded to vote by proxie. these things we see on saba alright.
SMH on saba plenty people can easy be boughten.had to laugh the other day .during election time lots a people was waving to me and hailing me. the other day i met an individual mind you during the campaign she was greeting me non stopping big time smilin and all . she saw me and did like she did not see me. said to myself well sista i knew your greetings was fake from day 1. during election high class stoops to low class and back to
high again. sickening.
I agree, for such a small island, there should not have been so many proxies. The only reason I could see for a proxie would be in the case of someone seriously ill or a person who no longer leaves home, because of old age or illness. Students studying abroad, I assume, can give a proxy as well. I’m not sure if we have absentee ballots here.
“The alleged accusation states that a bribe took place to receive one or more votes towards the WIPM party.” While this is shameful, if it is true, I think SLP should be real. Both parties had their share of proxies. So what is the problem? One party beat the other party to getting more?
Both parties should be ashamed of the bribery as well. I know first hand of the bribery by two of the SLP candidates. However, I would not go to the law about such, because I know it comes from both parties.
I agree also, that there should be more privacy at the voting stations/booths in the future. Politicians/supporters etc, should not be allowed into the building, as it was in The Bottom, nor within a certain proximity of the door into/out of the building/station.