Caye Caulker Elections Clerk Says, “Recount Of Ballots”
Credible reports to the Reporter are that a recount took place starting at 1:00 Monday afternoon in Caye Caulker, after some ballots from yesterday’s village council elections on that island were found inside a classroom at the polling area this morning.
The ballots, which were in batches and bore rubber bands around them, might have been ballots that were already counted, but the Elections Clerk in Caye Caulker has decided to conduct a recount.
Tensions Spike in Caye Caulker for Village Council Elections
The first phase of village council elections was held on Sunday. A total of thirty-five villages in Corozal, Belize, Cayo, Stann Creek and Toledo participated in the first round. The People’s United Party won one hundred and twenty-three seats, while the ruling United Democratic Party won seventy-three seats. Forty-nine seats were garnered by independent candidates. In Caye Caulker, things got a bit testy today. Counting concluded at three o’clock this morning and it was confirmed that independent candidate Seleny Villanueva Pott was elected as the new Chairlady. This morning, however, several used ballots were found in a classroom where voting had taken place. This prompted one of the candidates to demand a recount but for that to happen, a process needed to be followed. Residents who supported the original results began gathering at the police station where the election officers decided that a reconciliation of the ballots needed to be done. Pott spoke to News Five.
On the Phone: Seleny Villanueva Pott, Chairlady, Caye Caulker Village Council
“This morning I got a call from one the teachers from the school and had informed be that they had found some of the ballots under a desk. The Elections and Boundaries were not informed of it and they went to the school and we all met up there. The police got involved. The ballots were not to be touched. The police retrieved and took it to the police station. Statements were made by the teachers who found it. The J.P., Mr. Novelo, got involved and he explained cordially to all four chairperson candidates that if there are any other steps to be taken we would have to go and get a court order from the Supreme Court. I thought that was the end of it. Couple of minutes later I got a called saying that we should over to the Caye Caulker Community Center because we would have a recount. I was in contact with a lawyer and the lawyer was telling me that there was no way that a recount could be done; there is a process that has to be done. Elections and Boundaries had to communicate to their headquarters and they decided that they can’t do a recount. They had to do reconciliation. That is what was done. They had to open the entire ‘A’ box. I saw everything and then everybody was satisfied and they declared that the ballots were not tampered with and the results were reconciled to exactly what was counted last night.”
“Who was the candidate who requested the recount?”
On the Phone: Seleny Villanueva Pott
“Mr. Badillo, he requested the recount. He lost by thirteen votes and I guess he cannot conceded that he lost by thirteen votes. I hope he concedes now.”
The second round of elections takes place Sunday.