Counting the Votes and Proclaiming Results
The Legal Framework
Article 92 of the 2006 electoral law determines the process of vote counting. The counting starts after the closing of polling stations. The signatures of people who voted are reviewed and the total number of voters is recorded. Overseers are designated from the members of the polling station and seated at several tables with at least four people present. In cases where several lists are competing, it is authorized to have representatives of each list designate their own overseers who should be equally divided, as much as possible, around the tables where the ballots are counted. In this case, the names of those who have been chosen as overseers must be given to the President of the polling station at least one hour before the closing of the station in order to compile the list of overseers for each table before the start of the counting process.
The envelopes or the single ballots are distributed among the tables by the President of the polling station. One overseer begins the process by extracting the ballot from each envelope or simply unfolding the ballot, if there is no envelope, and gives it to the next person. The latter announces the result in a loud voice. At least two other people write down the names announced on a tally sheet. If the vote is declared void for reasons stated in the law, this fact is taken down in the minutes which are delivered in sealed envelopes to the committee that centralizes votes. After counting the votes, the President of the polling station announces the results and posts them at the front of the polling station. A signed copy of the document indicating the results is immediately given to each representative of the political parties, candidates, or lists of candidates. The minutes which record the results of the polling station are issued in three copies signed by the President, the deputy presidents, and the representatives of the political parties, if any. Article 98 of the 2006 electoral law describes the process by which these documents are then transmitted:
- The first copy contains a tally sheet where all counted votes are recorded and is sent to the committee in charge of centralizing all votes
- The second copy also contains the tally sheet and is delivered to the headquarters of the municipality, the embassy, or the consulate
- The third copy contains the void ballots, the tally sheet of recorded votes, and the document indicating the results. It is sent to the State representative from the District of Bamako or the region, for elections of national counselors, or to the Constitutional Court for referendum, presidential or legislative elections.
These documents must be put in sealed envelopes, stamped and signed by all staff members of the polling station and representatives of political parties. In case the minutes of a polling station are lost, or are not delivered, the document indicating the results of the polling station or the report of the CENI are used instead. This also applies in case the minutes do not include all the required signatures, or words are not legible and it becomes impossible to use it as working document.
The proclamation of final results and the management of electoral disputes
The Constitutional Court is in charge of the proclamation of final results for referendums, legislative and presidential elections. The results of the election of national counselors are announced by the committee in charge of centralizing votes following the receipt of all the minutes and attachments documenting the count of all votes. Regarding the election of municipal counselors, a committee for the centralization of votes and proclamation of results is convened in the District of Bamako or the “cercle.” This committee operating under the supervision of the CENI, centralizes the results for each municipality, counts all votes, proclaims, publishes, and posts the results.
The main sources of electoral disputes are the nullification of lists of candidates and fraud related to electoral cards such as the illegal possession of cards. The entity that has jurisdiction over an electoral dispute depends on the type of election. For example, the Constitutional Court has jurisdiction over any litigation pertaining to referendums, presidential elections, and the election of members to the National Assembly. Civil tribunals have jurisdiction on claims about the acceptance of candidacies in the election of national counselors. Whereas litigation regarding the nullification of the voting process for the election of national counselors is adjudicated by the Supreme Court.
Regarding the election of municipal counselors, a civil judge may adjudicate claims regarding the published lists of candidates. As for claims concerning the nullification of the electoral process, they are presided over by the President of the Administrative Court that has jurisdiction over the geographic area where the claim is made. It is possible to make an appeal at the Supreme Court against the decisions rendered by an administrative tribunal.