As Gambians vote in the local government elections to elect new local government representatives across the country, there have been reports of a massive low voter turnout in almost all the polling stations across the country.
According to observers, the low turnout is attributed to a need for more voter education ahead of the elections and Ramadan, as many people were fasting on election day.
Meanwhile, some observers of the Election Watch Committee reported that they had to climb stairs to reach a polling stream.
This was reported during a midday press briefing at the sides of the local council elections held at the situation room of various election observers at Paradise Suite Hotel in Kololi.
“Some Elections Watch observers noted that they had to climb stairs to reach the polling stream. In addition, stairs make the polling place inaccessible to persons with disabilities and the elderly, which may disenfranchise them from voting,” the Election Watch Committee noted.
However, the committee reported that from its 128 trained observers deployed across the country, 100% of the observed polling station had at least one-party agents during the setup process.
The EWC, which consists of Peace Ambassadors, Activista, National Youth Parliament, Think Young Women, Beakanyang, Peace Hub — The Gambia, and the Gambia Federation of Disabled, has recommended that party agents continue monitoring the process through voting, closing, and counting peacefully.
Another primary observer of the elections is the CSO Coalition on Elections. They reported that all voting setups, according to their observers, have gone smoothly but have noted a low voter turnout at the time of their report, with women forming the majority of early voters on Saturday’s polls.
The Coalition has also deployed 130 domestic observers nationwide and has observed a calm and peaceful voting environment.
The IEC announced 367 candidates for the local government, comprising 299 party candidates, 68 independent, 58 women candidates, and 4 with disabilities.
Meanwhile, polls are close at 5 pm GMT, local time, with results expected to be announced by the Independent electoral commission.