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Fern Narcis-Scope

Chief Elections Officer Fern Narcis-Scope said yesterday that the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) had received six requests for recounts in marginal constituencies.

In an interview with Guardian Media, Narcis-Scope said recounts had been requested for the constituencies of St Joseph, Tunapuna, Tobago East, La Horquetta/Talparo, Toco/Sangre Grande and San Fernando West.

All six were declared to the People’s National Movement (PNM) following the initial tally of votes on Monday night after the 2020 General Election. The recounts began at 3 pm yesterday.

Narcis-Scope confirmed that the requests were made for a recount of all the ballots cast in the six constituencies.

She also addressed the allegations that voters were experiencing issues with sanitiser blurring the ink on ballot papers during Monday’s election.

“We used sanitiser that evaporated very quickly because it was 80 per cent alcohol. As I said, while I have heard a candidate at the time made that allegation, I do not know that it was, in fact, correct—and I have no report or complaints from the presiding officers who would have been tasked with the responsibility to count the ballots that it was actually correct, that at the time was simply the thinking of a candidate but I don’t know that it was actually reality,” Narcis-Scope said.

Narcis-Scope was also told of an incident where a citizen complained that someone had used her name to vote in San Fernando West. The woman said she was eventually allowed to vote after she complained.

But Narcis-Scope said she had no reports of that incident. She explained that if voters had made complaints at the polling stations, the EBC would get reports of those complaints.

“If she had gone to the station and such an incident had transpired, the presiding officer would have gotten into contact with the returning officer and they are well trained, they know what they have to do, the registration area office would have also gotten involved, the staff at our EBC office would also have gotten involved. If that had happened, there is a process and if there was any validity into her allegations, steps would have been taken to rectify it. So that’s why I am saying I can’t comment any further because I am totally unaware of what you are talking about,” Narcis-Scope said.

She said she was told by the presiding officers that voters complained about having to wait in long lines to cast their votes but she attributed that wait to COVID-19 protocols being enforced.

Narcis-Scope said there were also complaints about the weather.

“The weather came into play in certain areas but there was nothing one could have done about that, people would have had to weather the storm, so to speak, so that they could be able to exercise their franchise,” she said.