A thousand fail to vote in crucial St Helena election

Just over half of registered electors have voted in the 2013 St Helena general election.

The turnout of 54.8% is a slight drop on the figure of 58% for the 2009 election.

In all, 1,267 valid voting slips were dropped into ballot boxes, from an electorate of 2,309 people. Four ballot papers were declared invalid because they had been spoiled or filled in incorrectly.

Just over a thousand people failed to engage in the political process, despite efforts to emphasise the importance of electing a strong legislative council at a time of major change on the island.

Even so, Paul McGinnety, an expat official working for St Helena Government, reported an optimistic mood. He wrote:

“The atmosphere is really good/excitement and it looks like a good representative demographic have voted.”

This year’s count is thought to be the first not to be held in The Castle in Jamestown.

Counting was slow to get under way, partly because it took about 90 minutes for the ballot box from Blue Hill to reach the count at Prince Andrew School.

The count began at 10.28 UK time, with every single vote read out to the candidates and supporters and broadcast live on both the island radio stations.

With up to 12 votes on each ballot paper, it was predicted that it could take eight hours before the final result could be declared.

A technical problem means that it will not be possible to provide frequent coverage throughout the night.

Editor Simon Pipe has been unable to upload stories to the site. Johnny Clingham of Saint FM Community Radio has been able to publish this story and hopes to upload the final result at breakfast time.

In the meantime, Simon will aim to publish updates on the Twitter website, using the hashtag #StHelena. To see his tweets, follow @sthelenamonitor.

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