13 Nov 2003

Big turnout of absentee voters predicted in Marshall Islands

11:21 am on 13 November 2003

Heavy absentee voter turnout by off-island Marshall Islanders for Monday's national election has been reported by the Chief Electoral Officer in Majuro.

Voting by Marshall Islanders living in Guam and the US mainland has been ongoing for the past two-and-a-half weeks and ballots have already started arriving by mail.

Chief Electoral Officer, Hemly Benjamin, says as of Wenesday 787 ballots had arrived by mail and thousands more are expected.

No precise number of Marshall Islanders living overseas is available but estimates based on several surveys indicate there are between 15-thousand and 20-thousand islanders living off-shore.

The Electoral Office says indications are that the 2003 election will bring the biggest ever postal ballot vote.