By Mike Puia
GIZO/Kolombangara constituency by-election counting in Gizo (Western Province), yesterday, was disrupted by posts on social media, particularly on Facebook.
When counting reached polling station seven (Hunda polling station), staff from Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) called for a halt in the process when a post was spotted on a facebook page.
The post revealed the votes. However the counting station was secured. Only SIEC staffs, observers, police officers and journalists were the only ones allowed to access the center.
Police has to be called for assistance to find out who had leaked the information.
Police then searched the journalists who have already surrendered their mobile phones before they entered the counting station.
None of the Journalists were with a mobile phone and they have not left the counting center leading up to the time the post appeared.
The SIEC Returning Officer, Christian Siale then call for counting to resume.
SIEC’s Chief Electoral Officer, Moses Saitala, told those present to refrain from sending information out.
Saitala said “this might lead to bad thing.”
However when counting reached polling station eight (Ringi Cove polling station), another post was spotted on facebook revealing the votes.
There was uncertainty over this post but SIEC staff decided to proceed until 9pm when the provisional result was made declaring Mrs. Lanelle Orlandrea Tanangada as the winner.