Saturday, April 13, 2013

GE13: Art of sealing ballot boxes a mix of origami and security baggage checks

Takun showing how the plastic "mouse tails" are used to secure the ballot boxes.Three of these stickers seal every ballot box. These are very sticky and easily torn.

The art of sealing a ballot box is a mix of a delicate craft like origami and security baggage checks at airports.

Introduced in 2007, the boxes - which are completely transparent, including latches and lids - are meant to prevent the filling of ballot boxes with phoney votes.

During a demonstration at the state Election Commission office here last week, state Commission director Datuk Takun Sunggah said the transparent ballot boxes were very durable and have been stress- and heat-tested.

At polling centres before voting begins, the top of empty ballot boxes to be used are sealed by commission workers, witnessed by observers and polling agents from participating political parties.

"They will look at the closing of the boxes as witnesses. After that, the sealing process begins," Takun said.

A plastic strap called a "mouse tail" is first used to secure the latch, and then another rope is strung through and secured with a knot.

Then a sticker, which is extremely adhesive and easily torn - like those used at airports on checked baggage - is wrapped around the knot.

This is repeated on the other side of the box, and polling agents have to sign all of the stickers before the ballot box can be used, Takun said.

Once voting is completed and the box filled, another sealing process takes place.

A sliding lid closes the box, and then another sticker - which has to be signed by polling agents as well - will be placed over the closed lid.

Before counting can begin, observers and agents have to ensure that all seals, lids and knots are untampered and remain as they were when sealed.

A form is signed by the polling agents to declare this

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