“Same day counting” appears to be doomed to failure. The political parties are rather in favor of counting votes on the same day as the general elections, with a few nuances. But at the level of public service unions, it is the opposite. However, without the support of unions, the implementation of the measure will be compromised.

The union centers are following in the footsteps of Radakrishna Sadien, president of the Government Services Employees Association. On Friday, May 31, Vinod Seegum, president of the All Civil Service Employees and Other Unions Federation, expressed his disagreement.

The latter met the electoral commissioner on Tuesday. “In the current context, Same Day Counting is not possible, for various reasons. Even if there is a general desire within several political parties to do it on the same day,” says Vinod Seegum.

It highlights all the attendants are at work, from the day before the general elections, with meetings and other logistical arrangements, which sometimes end very late. “The next day, we must be at the polling station at 4 a.m. or 4:30 a.m. at the latest. Work continues non-stop until 6 p.m. With the usual checks, other paperwork and the sealing of the boxes, the exercise ends around 8 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. There, we wait for the trucks which will transport the ballot boxes to the counting center. And the trucks will arrive around 9 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. If the count is done the same day, it will not start before 10 p.m.,” he explains.

As for the option of counting in each classroom, it “would be incongruous, even absurd, because of the confidentiality of the vote. It would be dangerous”

Vinod Seegum also argues that security problems will arise for civil servants who will have to return to their homes in the morning. The shift system is not possible, because we need the same attendants for the count. We may need more attendants for temporary relief. Where to find additional attendants? There is already a high percentage of refusals. Do we know that there are even refusals from people called upon to act as Returning Officers? This is unprecedented.”

For the Federation of Civil Servants and Other Unions, it is already too late to make changes in the conduct of the next elections and the counting of votes.

According to Naraindranath Gopee, the federation's negotiator, the Election Commission commissioner is not mandated to bring changes in the conduct of elections. It is up to the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) to do this. He mentions that the union did not quite understand the approach of the electoral commissioner's office to collect proposals from representatives of political parties and other stakeholders such as unions.

“How will the office of the electoral commissioner change the way elections are going to be conducted when it is the prerogative of the ESC? ” he said. Therefore, for Naraindranath Gopee the consultation exercise was not useful, because the commissioner is not mandated to review the electoral system. For him, it was an “academic” exercise that wasted his time.

According to Bhoopa Brizmohun, secretary of the Government General Services Union, his union is not against the changes, but they should not be rushed. According to her, it is necessary to take into consideration the constraints that the counting of ballots on the same day of the elections imposes. “If there is a change to be made, you have to take the time to do it and ask for the opinion of stakeholders afterwards,” she emphasized. For her, this is not the time to review the method of counting votes in the context of general and municipal elections. “We agree with the changes, but all aspects must be taken into consideration. »

For the Mauritius Labor Congress (MLC), “particular attention must be paid to the fatigue of civil servants if they also have to participate in the counting exercise on the day of the general elections. And what about security, transportation and food.” For these and other reasons, its president, Haniff Peerun, objects against “same day counting”. He advocates for the status quo.

Government/electoral commissioner meeting next week

While the electoral commissioner and his team were scheduled to meet leaders of the government alliance on Tuesday, May 28, they will do so next week. The central subject will be the counting of votes on the same day as the general elections. If at the government level, we agree on the principle, we however note a series of obstacles which could prevent its implementation.

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