Low voter turnout appears to have been the norm in both Majuro and Ebeye for Tuesday’s constitutional convention election.
Voting started slow and remained slow in most polling stations around Majuro. This was of great benefit to voters who did show up, as they were able to cast their votes with a minimum of waiting time — in contrast to long lines in many polling stations during the November 2015 national election.
The initial tabulation of votes also reflected the low turnout, with the counting for virtually all Majuro wards completed overnight Tuesday. Unofficial Majuro ward results were announced Wednesday morning by V7AB radio. This again contrasted with the 2015 national election when it took several days to complete initial tabulation of all Majuro wards.
Tabulation will also be much faster for the Con-Con vote because this is the first election in over 30 years that has no postal absentee votes to count, and no 14-day waiting period for the postals.
An election watcher on Ebeye described voter turnout there as “very low.”
“I went to vote at noon at Rairok Elementary,” one voter told the Journal. “No one in line, it took me one minute to vote.”
By the end of the day, the Rita Elementary polling station for Majuro voters resident in Rita showed respectable vote total of around 500 but still only about half of the turnout for the 2015 national election from that ward.
Electoral officials at multiple polling stations in the downtown area said there was little difference from morning to afternoon, with few lines and only a few voters showing up at any one time.
A number of Marshallese posted comments on social media before and during Tuesday’s vote, generally expressing negative sentiments about the state of government and politics in RMI as a reason for not voting.
Read more about this in the February 24, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.