21 Nov 2011

More independent vote anticipated in Marshalls election

7:36 pm on 21 November 2011

A more independent result is anticipated from today's national election in the Marshall Islands.

The Electoral Administration says about 36,000 people have registered to elect members of the 33-seat parliament.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says voter turnout was particularly heavy in the morning.

He says the distance voters have to travel has meant that in the past candidates offer them transport - and receive votes in return.

"At least according to a couple of people I've talked to they seem to think that the heavy turnout in the very early morning hours seemed to indicate that people were getting themselves to the polling stations and at least one candidate said she thought that was great because it might help increase the independence of the vote."

Giff Johnson says a return to an older voting system has enabled people to cast their votes more quickly than in the previous election.

Voting officially closes now, with counting scheduled to begin at 9pm and preliminary results not expected until Tuesday morning.