The Elections Commission said Wednesday 264,756 ballot papers had been printed for the presidential election scheduled for September 23, local media reported.
Mihaaru reported the EC contracted local firm M7 Printers at a cost that was MVR3 million (USD$194,250) higher than the second bidder.
M7 bid MVR345.85 to print a 25-ballot book while Novelty Printers – which has done the ballots for previous presidential elections – bid MVR63.80.
The Elections (General) Act says the EC must publicly announce the total ballots printed and where they were printed at least five days before the election, meaning it avoided breaking the law but only just.
M7’s managing director Mohamed Abdul Sattar told Mihaaru the cost was higher because of the ballot papers’ security features.
Mihaaru estimated the M7 total ballot cost would be up to MVR3.8 million, based on the firm’s rates. Novelty’s printing service would have cost MVR705,219.68, it reported.
Ballots have now been sent to atolls in security boxes, EC spokesman Ahmed Akram said.
“An elections commission official and a policeman is going with every box. It will be kept with our focal points,” he told Mihaaru.
There are 262,135 eligible voters this year and 472 ballot boxes.