BOTH candidates who went head to head in the run-off for yesterday's Muharraq by-election have been accused of illegally campaigning.
Sameer Kadhem and Abdulrahman Buali had teams of supporters on the streets trying to drum up support as voters went to cast their ballots, according to the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS).
The body, which was monitoring the election for violations, said this was in clear breach of the rule that campaigning must stop 24 hours before people go to the polls.
Activists said they also had to warn both candidates, who were competing for a parliament seat representing Hidd, to stop using youngsters as pawns in their bid to woo voters.
"We warned last week during the first round of polls that young children should not be involved in election campaigns," said BHRWS official Salman Nasser.
"But we have once again seen that children are standing in this hot weather distributing to passers-by election pamphlets of the candidates with bottled drinking water."
The GDN spotted several young children near the Al Hidd Girls Intermediate Secondary School polling station distributing posters and pamphlets of the candidates, pasting them on parked cars and shop windows or handing out water.
"These children are working in these humid conditions distributing brochures, which is not right as rules stipulate that election campaigning should stop 24 hours before the polls," said Mr Nasser.
Police were present at all main entrances of the main polling station as they assisted voters in parking their vehicles and ensuring smooth flow of traffic and riot police patrolled the area throughout the day to ensure the safety of voters.
More than 40 Bahraini staff were present to assist the voters to cast their ballots, including those with special needs as wheelchairs were also present at the polling centre.
A special area was also designated for veiled women, where their identity was checked by a female member of election staff.
Officials stamped the passport of all the voters with the official 2012 by-election logo to prevent double voting and officials checked them as people left the polling centres.
Election officials described voter turnout as "normal". The by-election was called after the seat was vacated by former Al Asala bloc MP Ghanim Al Buainain, who was appointed Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in April.
No clear winner emerged during last week's vote with Mr Kadhem receiving 1,324 votes and Mr Buali 1,140, ahead of Hind Bucheery with 377 votes and Mubarak Mukhaima with 136 - forcing the contest into a run-off.