PALAU HOUSE APPROVES ELECTION CHANGES

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Absentee ballots can arrive after Election Day

By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Feb. 2 2012) – The House of Delegates Tuesday passed on third and final reading the bill amending the election law, to extend the period of time within which an absentee ballot may be received by the Election Commission and to extend the time to certify results of the election.

The bill, introduced by Del. Swenny Ongidobel in October last year, is anticipated to be approved into law soon as the national election is going to take place this year

The bill disclosed that there are voters who cast votes by way of absentee ballot and yet their votes are denied due to the Election Commission’s non-receipt of the ballot by the day before the election as currently required.

The bill states that an individual’s right to vote should not be infringed by the fallibility of the postal system.

The bill assures that every voter will be given the opportunity and that every vote cast will be counted.

It is proposed in the bill to change the deadline by which an absentee ballot may be received by the Election Commission. Instead of requiring the receipt of absentee ballots by the day before the election, the bill proposes that absentee ballots be submitted and reach the Election Commission not later than seven days after the election.

A registered voter qualified to vote by absentee ballot may, not more than 90 days or less than 15 days before the election, request the Commission in writing for an absentee ballot to be voted at the election.

In order for an absentee ballot to be valid, it must be postmarked no later than the day of the election.

As to the law on special elections, the bill proposes that the Commission certify results and declare the winning candidate for the Senate or the House within 15 days from the date of the special election.

In case of a runoff election, it shall occur no later than 20 days after results of the special election have been certified. The Commission shall certify the results of a runoff election within 15 days of the date of the runoff.

The results of the election or runoff shall then be transmitted to the Olbiil Era Kelulau and each house shall be the sole judge of the election and qualification of its members.

Island Times © 2012 Island Times. All rights reserved.

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