Additional ticks will render votes invalid : EC

The Elections Commission (EC) has revealed that ballot papers will be considered as invalid if it has more ticks than the amount of officials being elected under each category in the upcoming local council election.

Speaking at the National Advisory Board established in preparation for the council elections, President of the Elections Commission, Ahmed Shareef said a vote can be declared as invalid under two circumstances as per the law; one being using a symbol other than ticks to show their choice. The second circumstance is if more ticks are drawn on the ballot than the amount of officials being elected under the ballot.

Those voting for city councils will have to cast three votes in the local council election. They are; a vote to elect a mayor, a vote to elect a council member, and a vote to elect members to the Women's Development Committee of the city council. If a city exists within an atoll, an additional vote will have to be given to elect a president for the atoll council.

Those voting for island councils will have to vote for five individuals on the same ballot. They are votes to elect the president of the atoll council, president of the island council, general council members, members of the island council seats designated for women, and members of the Women's Development Committee.

Any additional ticks on the ballot paper will render it invalid.

While four or six members will be elected to all island councils, having a lesser number of ticks will not disqualify the vote. If the vote for one category is correct and other categories are invalid, the correct vote will still be counted as valid, said EC.

"In a city, each voter will cast two votes; one for mayor and the other for the council member for their constituency. One tick must be given for the mayor category, and one to elect a council member. If there are additional ticks, the vote will be rendered invalid. Same goes for island councils - If there are more than five ticks, the ballot will be invalid. However, if it has even one tick, it will be counted," explained Shareef.

Shareef added that awareness programs will be conducted to familiarize citizens on the validity of votes by providing an information sheet to households. EC focal points in islands will be carrying out the task, said Shareef.

In the upcoming local council election, 983 officials will be elected that is slated for April 4. While 370 of these seats have been reserved for women, 923 officials will be elected to Women's Development Committees on the same day.