Some election observers, including some in the United States, expressed surprise that the RMI is still “hand counting” votes for the 2015 national election. Yes, it’s true: hand counting has been the norm from election number one in 1979 to election number 10 this week.
Given the combination of things that bedevil technology in the RMI — everything from unexpected power outages to flooding rains to salt air that often taints wires and computers — hand counting seems to work just fine. Takes a few days? Sure. But what else is happening in the RMI that we need to get the total counted more quickly? And since Nitijela has left its election law provision governing postal ballots intact, which prevents Electoral from counting postals until after November 30, what’s the rush? With a hand count, everyone gets to see the process and the ballots — a welcome level of transparency.
Besides, it’s only once every four years that a national election rolls around. Our observation is that while assuredly it is a grind for the candidates, generally speaking the drama of national elections is a welcome development in the humdrum of atoll life.
Machine voting and counting? The hand count works just fine.
Read more election news in the Marshall Islands Journal by subscribing through our website. Click on the subscribe button located top right.