The voting process for the upcoming internal elections of the People’s National Movement (PNM) is being queried by former minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira.
The internal election takes place on December 4 and Nunez-Tesheira is challenging the Prime Minister for the post of PNM political leader.
In a letter to PNM internal election committee chairman Anthony Roberts, Nunez-Tesheira said, “It is a matter of grave concern, as it is my understanding, that the voting by qualified registrants, is to be conducted over two days – November 26 and 27 2022 and again on December 4, almost a week later and on the same date of the national executive elections.”
She claimed this ” amounts to nine days as the counting of the votes cast will not occur until the final day set aside for voting.”
While there is no express by-law or rule that the voting process should be completed in one day, Nunez-Tesheira said, “It has been the practice and custom from the very inception of the party that the voting would be so completed and votes immediately counted in the presence of appointed representatives.”
She said, this process “becomes even more baffling” in light of the fact that in general elections in TT and elsewhere, hundreds of thousands of people vote in one day.
“I expect that there is sound rationale for adopting a one-day voting process on which the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) can shed light,” said Nunez-Tesheira.
She also questioned the arrangements to secure the storage of the ballot boxes during the one-week interval to December 4, to ensure that there is no opportunity for tampering with the boxes.
Nunez-Tesheira was also concerned about what she said is a requirement regarding new registrants who want to vote.
She said: “The process seems intrinsically flawed and lacking in the basic tenets of transparency and objectivity.”
She claimed this could facilitate ” a form of cherry-picking of potential registrants which can only lead to speculations as to the very integrity of this important aspect of the process.”
Another concern for Nunez-Tesheira was the alleged “lack of communication and/or timely communication as to the electoral requirements.”
She said this included “the availability and locations of the requisite forms and the publication of clear and settled guidelines for new registrants.”.
Nunez-Tesheira is now calling on PNM ‘s executive to keep its time-honoured electoral process of one day of voting and (ensure) that the relevant voting information be communicated and published in a timely and easily accessible manner.”