[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Gambians vote with their marbles
Voting drum in The Gambia
Voters post their marble into the different coloured drums
Gambians are voting for their president with a unique marble system.

Voters enter a booth and pop a clear glass marble into one of three drums representing the candidates, instead of a putting a ballot paper into a box.

As the marble falls into the drum, it hits a bell so officials can tell if anyone votes more than once.

"It's a unique system introduced in 1965 because of Gambia's high illiteracy," Gambia's chief electoral officer Kawsu Ceesay told the BBC.

The bell resembles a bicycle bell so bicycles are banned from around polling stations to avoid any confusion.

"Three drums representing the three presidential candidates will be in the compartment attached to one another so they can't be lifted to see which is heavier," he says.

Marbles
The system also makes the counting process much more transparent
Chief electoral officer Kawsu Ceesay

"The drums are painted in the colour of the candidate's party and have their photograph and party symbol."

Incumbent President Yahya Jammeh's drum is green and his rivals Ousainou Darboe and Halifa Sallah are yellow and grey respectively.

Sand or sawdust is also put into the bottom of the drum before it is inspected by party agents and shut with numbered seals so that a second sound is not heard.

Afterwards voters have their finger dipped in indelible ink.

Marbles have to be posted through a pipe at the top of the drum and those left on top are regarded as spoilt ballots.

"The system also makes the counting process much more transparent," Mr Ceesay says.

The marbles are placed into trays with either 200 or 500 holes - similar to a solitaire board - which makes it easy for officials to verify numbers.


RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific