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Mutalau seat to be decided today

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Mutalau seat to be decided today

How many times have we heard electoral officials encouraging people to exercise their democratic right to vote, often adding: your vote counts?  Nowhere is that more true than here on the Island. Your single vote can make or break a candidate.

An equality of votes in the Mutalau constituency between Makaseau Ioane and Maureen Melekitama has triggered a process that will end with the Chief Electoral Officer determining by lot which candidate wins the seat. 

Information from the Justice Department say that the procedure to follow is contained in the Niue Assembly Act 1966.

The first step is for the Chief Electoral Officer to check the electoral roll for Mutalau in the presence of representatives for Melekitama and Ioane. If the roll is in order, the next step is to undertake a recount of the votes. The recount must be done in the presence of a Judge  or an officer appointed by the Judge – in this case Mr Desmond Hipa, Commissioner of the High Court – and the Chief Electoral Officer and an assistant. A scrutineer for each candidate can also be present. No one else is permitted to be present.

If after the recount, the votes remain equal: “… the Chief Electoral Officer shall determine by lot which candidate shall be elected.”  Section 70 [3].  In plain language if after the recount the votes are still tied, put the two names in a box and draw out one. 

It is expected that by lunchtime today, the people of Mutalau will know who is to be their representative in the Assembly for the next three years. Once the result is known, it clears the way for the Chief Electoral Officer to officially declare the results of the elections. This in turn clears the caretaker Premier to call for the first sitting of the new Assembly.



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