The Election Observer Mission of the organisation of American States issued its preliminary findings on Saturday, December 7th which included several recommendations that it believes could make the electoral process smoother and more reassuring for all involved.
The mission commended the election winners and the nation on the execution of a successful process specifically noting the electoral authorities and poll workers for their hard work prior to and on election day.
The mission however observed a lack of information in the public sphere, regarding the laws, procedures and general data governing the electoral process.
It recommends a help desk management system to effectively manage and control information.
The OAS Mission suggests establishing permanent, physical locations for constituency returning officers to register eligible voters and facilitate management of the voters list by full-time staff.
Technology also factored into the mission’s recommendation. The group found that the electoral process, including the transmission of results, is primarily manual and proposes establishing an electronic system to improve monitoring, control and accuracy.
As for the voters list, the mission identified challenges to maintaining an accurate voter registry in Dominica. Among them is the absence of a provision for periodic verification of the voters list.
The mission believes that there are faults in information sharing among public institutions as it relates to residency status and deaths.
The suggestion is coordination and data-sharing between the offices of the chief elections officer, the registrar general and the immigration office to better coordinate the information required to update the voter list.
The matter of voter identification cards was discussed by the mission which referenced findings of the 2014 observers.
The mission says Dominica is one of the few remaining countries in the Caribbean without a voter identification card and so recommends that the necessary steps be taken to facilitate the issuance.
They also suggest a mechanism for voters overseas who are eligible to cast their ballots to do so.
The report includes recommendations concerning campaign financing and overseas-based voters