Voting in Today election poll now open – Send a free text message to vote

POSTED: 08/13/14 10:52 PM

St. Maarten – Starting today, Chippie-users will begin to receive text messages for Today’s election poll. Chippie-users will be able to express their political preference for the August 29 elections via a free text message. Today has once again chosen UTS as its partner for this project because the company has the largest mobile customer base in St. Maarten.
UTS makes the poll technically possible by putting its network at our disposal. The company will start today sending our text messages to thousands of Chippie-customers. Today and UTS guarantee the anonymity of the vote. Each cell phone number is entitled to one vote. When UTS processes the results after the voting closes, double votes will be eliminated.
Today presents the election poll unbiased, the same way it did this four years ago, first with the last elections for the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles, and then with the first elections for the parliament of St. Maarten. Formally this last election was for the Island Council of the island territory, but this body transitioned into the country’s first parliament on 10-10-10.
Chippie-users have the option to send their political preference free of charge to the number 2337. The poll offers the choices for the participating parties in alphabetical order: Democratic Party (DP), National Alliance (NA), One Sint Maarten people Party (OSPP), Social reform Party (STP), United People party (UP) and United St. Maarten Party (USP).
The text message Chippie-users will receive reads: “Take the anonymous TODAY election poll: Who will YOU vote for in this year’s election? SMS 1-DP, 2-NA, 3-OSPP, 4-SRP, 5-UP, 6-USP.
The text message (sms) can only be sent to the shortcode 2337. Participation is free.
Participants will receive a thank you message that reads, “Thank you for participating in the Today Newspaper election poll. Results will be announced soon.”
If everything goes according to schedule, the results will be available at our office on Tuesday, August 19 and they will be published the following day.
Next week Monday Chippie-users will receive a reminder, alerting them of their last chance to participate. The poll will close on Tuesday afternoon.
The poll will give an impression of the voter sentiment – it is obviously not an exact indication of the results of the elections on August 29.
In January 2010, 1,245 Chippie-users cast their vote in the first-ever text message based election poll in St. Maarten. There were three participating parties for the last parliament of the Netherlands Antilles – the National Alliance, the Democratic Party and the People’s Progressive Alliance. The poll gave the National Alliance a slam-dunk victory with 47 percent, with the Democratic Party a distant second with 34 percent and the People’s Progressive Alliance with 8 percent. In the real elections, the NA won by an even larger margin (60.7 percent), but the trend from the poll was on the mark.
The poll for the September 2010 elections was marred by the passing of Tropical Storm Earl. The number of participants was lower (930). Whether it was the storm or whether there were other factors in play is hard to say, but the reality is that the trend in this second poll was not accurate. Chippie-users gave the United People Party 58 percent, the National Alliance 23 percent, the Democratic Party 11 percent and the Concordia Political Alliance 2 percent.
The real elections however gave the victory to the NA (45.9 percent), followed by the UP with 36.1 percent. The result was also less dramatic for the DP than the poll predicted, because it won 17.1 percent. The Concordia Political Alliance had to be satisfied with 0.9 percent of the vote.
Today’s poll is, we repeat this for clarity’s sake, not a science-based project. Chippie-users are not necessarily eligible to vote, but if the sample is large enough – around or slightly above 1,000 votes – it still ought to give an impression of where the country is going on August 29.

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