In the still preliminary and unofficial vote tabulation, Majuro Mayor Ladie Jack was outpolling main challenger Margaret Alee Bigler by more than two-to-one and three of the four incumbent Majuro Nitijela members were showing the highest numbers.
Incumbent Stephen Phillip and candidates David Kramer and Yolanda Lodge-Ned were locked in a battle for the fourth and fifth seats. Thirty people ran for the five Majuro Nitijela seats.
Reminder: All these numbers are preliminary, incomplete and unofficial.
Meanwhile, incumbent Mayor Ladie Jack was well on his way to securing a third term in office. His vote count was 1,770 as of mid-day Wednesday compared to his main challenger Margaret Alee Bigler who had 788.
The Kwajalein count, from Kwajalein regular votes, as of Wednesday morning, showed David Paul (480), Kili Kabua (472) and Kitlang Kabua (411) bunched together for the three Kwajalein seats — David and Kitlang are incumbents. Lanny Kabua was in fourth with 274 votes. This total did not include Santo Island, and over 200 Ebeye votes that were still in the process of being tabulated.
Ailuk: David Anitok was leading Bori Ysawa 117 to 56 based mainly on Majuro absentee votes.
Arno: With most of the Majuro absentee votes counted, incumbent Mike Halferty was the frontrunner with 372 votes, followed by Gerald Zackios with 241 and Stevenson Kotton at 228.
Tabulation numbers Wednesday afternoon showed Kalani Kaneko at the top with 1,632. Next was Tony Muller with 1,348 and Brenson Wase with 1,165 votes. After these three, the vote was close for the next two available seats: David Kramer had 1,086, incumbent Stephen Phillip 1,071, and Yolanda 1,032.
Aur: Incumbent Hilda Heine was outpolling challenger Justin Lani 67-10 with Tobal and a few outer island absentees counted.
Ebon: With Majuro to Ebon absentees and some Ebon votes counted, incumbent John Silk was leading challenger, former Mayor Marie Davis-Milne, 256-185.
Jabat: Incumbent Kessai Note was ahead of his one challenger, Whitney Loeak, 133-79, with Jabat regular votes, Majuro absentee and Airok to Jabat absentee counted.
Jaluit: Newcomer Sonny Milne had the highest vote count at 203, with all of Jaluit regular votes reported and some of Majuro absentees included. Daisy Alik-Momotaro was in second with 176 and incumbents Jemi Nashion, 169, Casten Nemra, 136, rounded out the top four for the two seats. In the mayor’s race, with seven candidates contesting the seat, Riem Simon was ahead with 124, followed by Rosetina Morris 84 and incumbent Alington Robert, 75.
KBE: With Kili and Ejit regular votes counted along with some outer island absentees, but not Majuro absentee votes, incumbent Peterson Jibas was ahead with 128 votes compared to his main challenger Jess Gasper, Jr. who had 103. In the mayors race, incumbent Anderson Jibas had 136 to Tommy Jibok’s 111.
Ujae: First time candidate Bremity Lakjohn was leading with 50 in a six-way race, with Ujae regular votes counted only. Incumbent Atbi Rikon had 39 and Waylon Muller 30.
Utrok: With Utrok regular votes and one outer island absentee counted, incumbent Hiroshi Yamamura held a commanding 66 to 21 lead over challenger Robin Kios.
Constantly updated results, as tabulations are completed, are available from the RMI Electoral Administration at: https://www.rmielection.com/
In other election news, the Marshall Islands 12th national election went off smoothly Monday this week, with nearly all polling stations closing at 7pm and tabulations starting later that same night at the ICC.
An important change, which helped the flow of voting Monday, was moving the voting for “confined” voters to the Friday and Saturday before the national election. This allowed mobile Electoral teams to complete all confined voting Saturday so the focus Monday was at the polling stations.
Nearly all were open by the scheduled 7am start of voting.
Few of the Majuro regular voter polling stations showed sustained lines. But outer islands voters saw big lines for Maloelap and Aur at Majuro Middle School and Marshall Islands High School, while the Namo line dominated at the Delap Elementary School location and Rongelap voters packed the North Delap Elementary site.
With the exception of these three, the trend that developed was voting was heaviest from the early morning until early afternoon, after which many of the lines dropped off. Some picked up in the late afternoon leading up to the 7pm closing.
A six-member observation group from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat arrived last week and is here through this week monitoring the voting.
From about midnight Monday night, all attention centered on the ICC, which is the Electoral Administration’s headquarters for the tabulation.
The Electoral Administration was regularly updating the results from the ongoing tabulation on its website, https://www.rmielection.com/.