UN IEC: Statement of Chief Electoral Officer 11:00am, 1 September 2001
United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor
Office of the Chief Electoral Officer
STATEMENT OF THE CHIEF ELECTORAL OFFICER
11:00am, 1 September 2001
Progress of Counting
As I have mentioned previously, the counting process has different phases.
This first phase, reconciliation, is likely to be the longest.
The district counting centers closed last night between 6:15pm and 8:15pm. The variation is due to our instructions that they not stop in the middle of processing a polling center. All had reopened this morning by 9:15am, with party agents or observers present at all centers. Most of them have completed between one-third and two-thirds of the reconciliation.
The progress of the count is determined by a number of factors, including the number of ballots cast, the number of staff available, the size of the space available, the efficiency of the operation, fatigue, etc. I would like to reiterate that our highest priority is the accuracy of the count, and we will take the time necessary to ensure that the results reflect the will of the voters. That said, we are on schedule at this point and anticipate that we will continue to be.
Board of Commissioners
The Board of Commissioners is following the entire process closely. As I mentioned last night, they were meeting at the time of our 7pm press briefing, at which time they decided to approve the inclusion in the counting process of the ballots from the box in Baucau whose seal was broken.
It has been brought to the attention of the Board that some ballots have been found in ballot boxes with their numbered stubs still attached. While no record was maintained of the ballot number issued to any individual, the Board has directed that these numbered stubs must be removed from the ballots to ensure the secrecy of the ballot. The removal should occur between the amalgamation and mixing stages and no ballots should go in the mixing with stubs still attached. After removal of the stubs, all numbered stubs are to be placed in an envelope; the envelope sealed, endorsed that it contains “numbered ballot stubs”, and placed with other sensitive electoral material. It is important that all party agents and observers be advised that this process is to occur in order to safeguard the secrecy of the vote.
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