By Mike Puia
COUNTING of ballot papers for the Gizo/Kolombangara by-election is taking place in Gizo.
Counting starts at 9am and the winner of the election should be known around afternnon.
Police have been working hard in retrieving ballot boxes from 12 polling stations in the constituency when voting closed at 5pm on Wednesday.
When voting closed at 5pm, the first five ballot boxes on Gizo Island were collected by police and transported to Gizo town.
They were kept under police care. Police also retrieved the other seven ballot boxes in Kolombangara Island last night where they were transported and kept overnight at Gizo police station.
Counting is expected to be done at the provincial headquarter compound and the announcement of the provisional result will be made by the Returning Officer.
The provisional result will be sent to the Solomon Islands Electoral Office (SIEC) office in Honiara where it will advise the Governor General to make the official announcement of the winning candidate.
Five candidates are contesting the Gizo/Kolombangara parliamentary seat.
Two of these candidates are; Mrs Lanelle Tanangada, the wife of the former Member of Parliament of the constituency, and a former prime minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo. They are the two strong contenders in this by-election.
Polling day yesterday was quiet due to the passing of a former Member of Parliament and a respected businessman in Gizo on the eve of the polling day.
The turn-out to vote at polling stations was good.
Returning Officer, Chris Siale, confirmed yesterday that he received positive feedback from staff on the field about the turn out by voters to cast their ballots.
Siale said however some issues popped up, such as some voters with cards did not see their names on the list at the polling station.
He said they can’t do much about such case since yesterday was voting day.
Siale said there have been stages during the registration process that would have dealt with such issue.
He said those who are unfortunate to be on the list should make sure their names are on the voter roll they will commence work on this month. This is for the 2019 national general elections.