Technology has changed the nature of the conduct of general elections here with supporters from the two main political parties trading political rhetoric during what is expected to be a closely fought contest.
Polls opened this morning at 7:00 am with long lines reported across the country. The voting process was slow with some persons complaining that they stood in line for over two (2) hours to cast their ballot.
The long lines continued into the afternoon and election officials are expecting a high turnout.
However, social media was swirling with accusations from both sides of the political spectrum about irregularities including unmarked ballots, illegal voters, inaccurate voting lists and intimidation by party agents outside the polling station.
Another ugly feature emerged on election day as several persons posted their completed ballots on social media showing their voting preference lifting the veil of secrecy. This may have an effect on the integrity of the elections.
Communications practitioner and Media Assistant for the New Democratic Party (NDP) Colin Graham drew the ire of many including party supporters for posting his ballot paper on Facebook.
Graham whose ballot showed that he voted for NDP’s candidate in East St. George Laverne H Velox exposed his voter number and ballot number making his details easy to trace using the online electoral portal. The post was later deleted.
In East Kingstown, heated exchanges took place when one man who is believed to be living in Park Hill turned up to vote. However, his name was on the voter’s list with some persons speculating he is a long time voter in the constituency from his earlier registration.
Videos circulating on social media show an exasperated Luke Browne fighting back against accusations of voter fraud.
This is not the first time that the East Kingstown constituency has been the epi-centre of election day skirmishes. In the 2010 general elections, lawyer and former PRO of the NDP has accused Browne and his family of being involved in alleged illegal registration of voters in East Kingstown.
While Frederick has not relented in her belief, one such person who was accused of being illegally registered in the constituency begged the lawyer to get the facts correct before putting the information on social media.
Polling ended at 5:00 pm for regular voters. Over 240 persons who were in quarantine facilities across the country were given a special exemption to vote between 5:00 and 5:30 pm. Persons waiting in the line will be allowed to vote once they arrived before the stipulated times.
Now that the doors are closed and the last person has casted his/her ballot, Vincentian now wait with baited breaths as election officials start the reconciliation and counting process.
The first set of results is expected to flash across our screens at about 7:00 pm and from then on, Vincentians will track if both parties end the night with “5 inna row” or there will be a new dawn.
Stay with us for live updates throughout the night.