Who can object?
As stated in the Electoral Act 1989 the individuals eligible to present a petition are :
(a) Registered Voter
(b) A candidate
(c) A person claiming to have had a right to be elected or returned at the election.
Voters and candidates can file a petition on the grounds of :
- Bribery-where candidates bribe registered voters before the election
- Threats-where candidates or fellow electors threaten family members of fellow voters to influence his vote for a certain candidate
- General offences
- counting of votes or determination of results;or
- verification procedure.
How to object:
The petitioner shall present his petition by filing it in the office of the Supreme Court at Nuku'alofa.
What happens next?
(1) An election petition shall be tried in open Court and notice of the time and place of trial shall be given not less than 14 days before the day of trial.
(2) The Court may in its discretion adjourn the trial from time to time, but the trial shall, so far as is practicable consistently with the interests of justice in respect of the trial, be continued from day to day on every lawful day until its conclusion.
(3) The trial of an election petition shall be proceeded with notwithstanding that the respondent may have become disqualified as a member of the Legislative Assembly, or that the Legislative Assembly may have been prorogued.
(4) Subject to this Act, the Court shall have jurisdiction to inquire into and adjudicate on any matter relating to the petition in such manner as it thinks fit, and in particular may at any time during the trial direct a recount or scrutiny of the votes given at the election.
(5) On the trial of an election petition complaining of an unlawful election declaration and claiming the seat for some person, the respondent may give evidence to prove that person was not duly elected, in the same manner as if he had presented a petition against the election of that person.
You can appeal the result of the poll by filing your petition in the office of the Supreme Court in Nuku'alofa within 28 days after the day on which the result of the poll has been declared.
A candidate may request a recount within one week of the declaration of the poll for a constituency. The request must be in writing and addressed to the Supervisor of Elections.
A candidate requesting a recount must pay the Supervisor of Elections, at the time of the request, a fee of $1000 in either cash, a bank cheque drawn on a bank registered or operating in Tonga.
Result of Recount
The Supervisor will conduct the count and announce the result. The decision of the Supervisor is final.
Refund of Fee
The fee lodged by the candidate can be refunded if as a result of a recount a different candidate is elected or the supervisor or Elections certifies that in his opinion the demand for a recount was reasonable.