18 Nov 2010

Concern in Cook Islands over candidates and supporters not leaving polling stations

10:46 am on 18 November 2010

The Cook Islands electoral office doesn't anticipate any major problems with today's general elections and national referendum on political reform.

Electoral office staff have undergone intensive training in the lead-up to the in which just over 10,000 people have registered to vote.

Our correspondent in Rarotonga, Florence Syme Buchanan reports:

"The electoral office says the only problems that may occur would be to do with declaratory votes - these are people who turn up at polling stations to vote but aren't on the voting register. Declaratory votes will not be included in tonight's preliminary count . The electoral office says they will be thoroughly reviewed by the voting registrars in each constituency before possible inclusion in the final count. People are queuing up to vote at polling booths on main island Rarotonga and a high voter turn-out is expected. Some scrutineers have expressed concern to Radio NZ International that political candidates and their supporters were not leaving after casting their vote but remaining at polling stations to watch voters coming and going. Police are expected to keep polling stations clear and it's understood police have been asked to attend to the matter. Election results are expected to start coming in by 7pm local time - especially for small electorates like Rakahanga, Tamarua and Ivirua which have less than 100 voters."