Almost 39% of voters know who they want

| 06/04/2017 | 6 Comments

Cayman News Service (CNS Election): One week after Nomination Day revealed who will be running in which seat and on which ticket, 38.7% of the CNS readers who have so far taken part in a straw poll said that there was one candidate standing in the constituency where they lived that they could fully support. Less than 18% felt that all of the candidates they had to choose from were just too terrible and they would not be going to the polls on 24 May, Election Day. The bulk of participants, over 43%, were much less emphatic about how they would use their one vote.

This group was almost evenly divided between those who said they very disappointed with the choices but who were still planning to vote for someone and those who said they would make up their minds about the candidates only after they heard what they had to say.

Although an entirely unscientific poll, the online survey reflected previous voter turnout, as Cayman can usually expect over 80% of the electorate to go out and vote and less than 18% of CNS readers who took part said they would be staying home.

Well over a third said they are certain who they will vote for, many of whom are likely to be party supporters or living in constituencies where one of the independent candidates already has their backing.

But if the poll is a reflection of the wider electorate, the 63 would-be MLAs (if all of them remain on the ballot after the qualification process is cleared up in the coming week) still need to convince well over 40% of their electorate to vote for them.

The comments on the poll also saw readers pointing to Prospect as one of the worst constituency for non-PPM supporters, and that was even before the scandal surrounding Matthew Leslie exploded on social media, with some calls for voters there to use their democratic right to spoil their ballot in protest.

Some commenters objected to candidates running in districts where they don’t live, although there has never been any restrictions on where a candidate lives. In the end, if voters in any given district don’t like the idea of having a representative who does not live in their constituency, they can show that on the ballot by voting for one that does.

This is the first time that voters in Cayman across all districts will have just one vote. The change could have a very significant impact, especially in areas that were previously multi-voting districts — Bodden Town, West Bay, George Town and the Sister Islands — now all divided into smaller single-member constituencies. With just one vote this time, the thought process for many undecided voters is going to be very different.

Category: Polls

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What I’d like to see on the ballot is a line for “withheld vote” as I, and many others, cannot in good conscience vote for any of the knuckleheads running in my home district. I’d like the election statistics to recognize that showing up and rejecting all of the candidates is a valid choice/right that more of us need to exercise.

    This is not to be confused or lumped in with spoiled ballots from sloppy handwriting, unclear mark, multiple marks, or wrong type of pencil. A separate distinct and valid category for those that clearly and knowingly rejected all of the applicants and platforms.

    If sufficient numbers, this will also help demonstrate that the Constitution needs to be amended to broaden candidate eligibility, raise minimum qualifications, and ideally, reduce the number of ineffectual MLAs altogether.




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Listen to Barefoot’s “Politicians’ Dance” song and then chuckle all the way to the poll station as you decide who dances best. Vote for that one!




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  3. Sharkey says:

    My straw poll predict that there’s another BREXIT coming to the Cayman Islands.




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  4. Rick Finlay says:

    While one man, one vote is, in my view, the best long term system to advance democracy in these Islands, the first run through may well be a failure in terms of the expectations of the electorate. I have spoken to many who are new to this system and who supported it only to discover they don’t like what they are seeing.

    Clearly, it dilutes the choices amongst an already sparse field of willing qualified candidates (unfortunately there are many who are qualified but unwilling to stand).

    There are a significant number of districts where some may say there is no sensible choice to make – not limited to Prospect as the commentary suggests.

    To the credit of the democratic process in Cayman, and ignoring the 39% who would vote for a candidate who committed murder in broad daylight and the 18% who are apathetic or worse, that still leaves a significant number of voters (measured in terms eligible voters) who can voice their opinion. They may do that by voting for someone on the ballot or by writing in someone they would really like to see as a leader in their community. The latter would be a spoilt ballot but a democratic act nonetheless.

    If this new system is really going to work, I invite the consideration of all or some of the following changes (which will likely require constitutional amendment);

    Minimum qualifications – education or experience or similar- as an entry level requirement to stand. Standing for public office should not be a job application or a route to a free pension and health care. I understand this runs contrary to the very concept of democracy but consider it against the current number of willing eligible candidates; and/or

    Expand the pool of those who are eligible to run for office. This is, again, controversial but will occur inevitably as the children born to generational expats, who have contributed to this country, come of age;

    If you are going to represent a district, you must have a meaningful relationship to that district – whether by residency, birthplace, parental/sibling connection or some other significant identifying relationship. Absent that requirement, in my view, there is no element of representation or ownership of democracy.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Bang on. I’d wager that nearly half of the 21,224 Electorate (these are new voters added after 2003) are non-Birth Caymanians, and that if they were to collectively decide to petition for Constitutional Amendments to eligibility, that they could wield the power to open it up to the many intelligent and contributing non-Birth Caymanians, that have selflessly served or volunteered their time in other capacities over many decades. Ideally, professionals who have not been afraid to call out corruption, or to revamp internal governance. Many would do it for free, out of love for this territory. How many of our current candidates would be prepared to accept similar personal liability while waiving their comp? With serious issues on the horizon, we have four more aghast amateur-hour years to figure this out.




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  5. Gimme Dolla says:

    One particular candidate appears to know exactly what he wants too.




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