The Gambia will ditch its colonial-era marble voting system for a modern ballot system after April’s local government elections.

Chairman of the country’s electoral commission said the change is due to the logistical problems associated with providing ballot drums for every candidates as more political parties are registered.

“If we are to combine two elections in one, how many ballot drums can fit in a polling station,” said Alhaji Alieu Momarr Njai, chairman of the Independent Election Commission.

Since The Gambia returned to democracy after the end of the Jammeh dictatorship in 2016, more political parties have been formed and many Gambians who were previously barred from seeking political office are now making a comeback.

And this is putting pressure on a voting system that was designed in a colonial era where the candidates vying for seats were handful.

Now the new found political freedoms have led to a crowded political space with an ever increasing list of political parties and independent candidates.

“You imagine 1454 polling stations and where you have 56 candidates and we have to provide ballot drums for each candidate with the colour of their party, that would be really costly,” he said.

The Gambia’s unique marble voting system was introduced by the British in the 1960s because of the high illiteracy rate at the time.

Voters drop a marble into a drum and it drops a bell sounds notifying officials of a vote. This prevents voter fraud and there are no spoil ballots.

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