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The Marbles Never Lie

The Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has been declared winner of the election held on 4 December. Barrow received around 53% of the vote cast while his closest rival at the polls, Oussainou Darboe, got 28%. The country has a unique system of voting that does not involve the use of paper ballots in casting votes. Instead, it uses marbles. The opposition candidates who rejected the results have not indicated any problem with the voting process, especially as it relates to the use of marbles. This form of voting has proven to be simple and difficult to cheat. In the place of ballot boxes, there is a metal cylinder with a hole in the top. The containers are arranged on a table inside a voting booth and painted with the party colours of candidates as well as their photos for ease of identification. Each voter drops a marble into the container representing the chosen candidate. The final tool used in this unique form of voting is the counting box. Marbles are emptied into a square tray that is dotted with holes. At the end of the voting, counting is done on the spot. The holes in the trays get evenly filled with marbles. The total is then tallied and recorded on the spot for representatives of candidates and voters. Counting on the spot ensures fairness and builds public confidence in the electoral process.