Cabinet set to review election law changes

| 29/02/2016 | 5 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The Cabinet is expected to review recommendation from the Cayman Islands Elections Office early next month regarding the legislative amendments needed to usher in electoral reform in time for the next election – whenever it happens. Staff from the office, who are busy preparing for Cayman’s new electoral landscape, are working on a number of areas but expect the amendments to the law to be debated in the Legislative Assembly in July.

The office said that preparations for the next general elections under the 19 single member electoral districts are well underway, including the legislative amendment recommendations, voter registration, voter education, allocation of voters to the new constituencies, as well as recruitment and logistical resourcing for the elections.

Even if government were to call a snap election or there is a need for a by-election before the anticipated May 2017 ballot, the next national poll will be under the reformed system of one man, one vote (OMOV) in single member constituencies (SMC), in line with the government order published in the Gazette last November, which officials said comes into effect automatically when the parliament is next dissolved.

In a release on Monday updating the public of the Elections Office preparations, officials said staffing levels were “being ‘ramped up’ for elections training, logistics and various assignments.”

The office already has access to people with previous experience and knowledge in delivering elections, including returning officers and field clerks, who will be supplemented by new staff members to deliver the constitutional requirement for fair elections. Eventually, officials will be at work on Elections Day to ensure free and fair elections with credible returns, the office stated.

The expenditure for the elections is also in hand, with the submission for additional funds included in the 2016/2017 budget cycle, which starts on 1 July. “If an early general election is called during this budget year, supplementary budget appropriations will be requested from the current budget to meet the constitutional requirements of delivering general elections,” officials confirmed.

Regardless of Premier Alden McLaughlin’s concerns about holding his government together after three MLAs crossed the floor to the opposition benches, at this point there is no indication that he plans to call an early election, although if he loses another MLA this would become a very real possibility. However, with just three months left of this financial year, an early poll would not take place before the new financial year begins.

Nevertheless, officials warned people who are eligible to vote that a sudden by-election or a snap general election would close the window of opportunity for them to register and only people already on the list of electors will be able to vote, so the office is encouraging eligible people to register now.

A voter registration drive began at this year’s agricultural shows but registration is open year round and anyone who wants to have their say is urged to sign up to vote. Voters who are already on the list should check that their information is up to date, especially addresses.

The voters list can be found on the Elections Office website and is also available at post offices on all three islands. Voters can register any time by downloading forms from the Elections Office website or can call 949-8047 for more information.

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Category: Elections, Politics

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Who cares? There is systemic corruption and incompetence at all levels of government, as shown by the daily headlines. This is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  2. Anonymous says:

    In order to have a fair assessment of voting. Create a law that requires notification of your new address to the government either via driver’s license or through a revised electors voters card. If the individual is found not to have notified of the change, then a fine (might be too light handed) and or imprisonment (a bit harsh) is imposed.

    Adding to that a ‘finders’ fee for telling on individuals that vote for the incorrect district due to hiding new residence.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m registered but will not vote for any of the current donkeys again. There will have to be some new and very promising candidates for me to bother casting a vote.

  4. Sharkey says:

    You can’t vote if you’re not registered, that’s fair . I think that someone is trying to turn that around to say , you can vote if you’re not registered . If the election are done fair, why are we talking about this subject ? I hope that all sleeping politicians wake and see this .

  5. Anonymous says:

    Assuming many electors will have to file a new Form-13 after their home electoral boundary changes to get their new electors card – what is the anticipated effective date of district changes ahead of the May 2017 vote?

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