Elections Office stresses ballot secrecy

| 24/10/2019 | 52 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): Elections Office staff reassured voters Thursday that they will maintain the security of the upcoming people’s referendum on the cruise berthing project and that the secrecy of the ballot will be protected. Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell has also confirmed that there will be just one national count of votes cast, as was the case with the constitutional referendum in 2009, rather than counting the results in each constituency.

It is not clear what has triggered the concerns about the secrecy of the forthcoming national poll but officials stated that the integrity of Cayman’s voting system is built on the secrecy of the vote. The law contains several safeguards to ensure that voters’ identities are not revealed when their ballot is being marked or counted.

Howell said the staff at the office will take every precaution to ensure that votes remain secret at the time of the count, regardless of whether the vote is submitted by postal ballot, mobile ballot or is cast in person on Referendum Day.  Polling teams have been training since September, he said, to ensure that this referendum will meet or exceed international best practices.

The Referendum Bill, which is due to be debated in the Legislative Assembly on Monday, has been adapted from the Elections Law but contains the provision for a national count.

“This means all ballots cast in the 19 electoral districts will be collected at a central location for counting,” officials said in a press release. “The ballots, including mobile and postal ballots, will be mixed and divided into random segments for counting. The totals from each segment will be added together to give one national result. It is, therefore, impossible to determine how any individual or group voted.”

According to statements made by government this week, it was determined that it was in the national interest to provide a national count as done in the 2009 referendum.

Election officials also stressed that the referendum will be conducted in keeping with internationally accepted principles. They said the proposed bill, as with the Elections Law, provides for the appointment of observers, both local and international, to ensure that the referendum is carried out in accordance with best practice.

“Any voter who feels threatened or unduly pressured to vote, not vote, vote a certain way, or to reveal how they voted should report their concerns to the Elections Office or the Royal Cayman Islands Police,” the officials stated in the statement.

The process for voting in the referendum will be the same as all previous elections and referendums in Cayman. Voters mark their ballots alone in a voting booth, except when assisted voting is requested and authorised by the voter.

The voter then folds the ballot paper, which conceals their choice, before they deposit their ballot in the box. Ballot papers are designed to ensure that the voter cannot be identified at the time of the count. If a voter marks a ballot with their name or any other any identifiable marks, it is rejected.


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Category: Politics

Comments (52)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    the article says ““Any voter who feels threatened or unduly pressured to vote, not vote, vote a certain way, or to reveal how they voted should report their concerns to the Elections Office or the Royal Cayman Islands Police,” the officials stated in the statement.”

    Can I report that a group of individuals, claiming to represent the people, are spending tens of thousands of dollars of the peoples money,without their permission, to attempt to make me vote for the port or to stay home and not vote.

    It sounds to me like this is a crime. Do you think my complaint would be taken seriously?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Secrecy at the ballot box is the bane of democracy.
    No one really knows.

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  3. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

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  4. CayCay says:

    I can’y decide whether the Cruise Berthing Facility is not good or good for Cayman.. i guess I’m not voting.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Then you voted yes.

    • Anon says:

      If you can’t decide, you should vote no, otherwise you WILL be voting yes. By voting no, doesn’t mean you don’t want a port at all, it just means more time and planning/consideration need to be made. By government saying, if you don’t show up and vote it means a yes vote is basically them taking you voting rights away from you and there is not “not sure/u decided” option for you

  5. Anonymous says:

    CPR should call the CIGs bluff! Use ads to bring people for or against the port out! Focus on the issues and make sure you say to vote yes or no!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    After Government calls for those in favor of the port not to vote, I don’t see how there will be any secrecy. If you are going into a poll booth you are going in to vote against the port. I will still be going in to vote against the port.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Me too. I don’t care who knows. What are they going to do? Try to victimise 10,000 people and their families. Anyone voting is Caymanian – they ain’t kicking us off the island!

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    • Anonymous says:

      That is a very good point and people will be watching who is going to the polls. Government employees won’t be voting.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I am a government employee and I WILL be voting. What is government going to do, fire me? Please, after I’m through with them I won’t have to strike another lick of work.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    The elections office have to say that, but i’m not convinced.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    How can it be international best practice if you dont count each polling place separately? How will you know if someone stuffs a ballot box somewhere? Security only gets you so far.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Each ballot box will still be counted separately. The difference is that the count will take place at one central location.

      • Anonymous says:

        But how will it be reported

      • Anonymous says:

        Obviously each box has to be counted, the issue is them being tallied as one national number rather than the more useful constituency by constituency numbers that every other election uses

        The government doesn’t want their benches getting second thoughts when they see their constituencies vote no

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  9. anon says:

    “Any voter who feels unduly pressured to vote in a certain way should report it to the Elections Office or the police”. I can just see all the voters in certain districts lining up to complain their washing machines are not “fully loaded”.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that the Government never meets with the people of the country to fully deliver and explain a “propose infrastructure project” to its people. Explain the “pros and cons” of the project, design, costing etc. I agree that the island need a berthing facility, however, and most importantly, is the factor of the contributing cost and benefits of the project to the people. Very disheartening to observe our Government conducting themselves in this manner.

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    • #FedUP says:

      Don’t worry there will be a last minute public meeting before the Referendum to satisfy their very “transparent and fair procurement process” – there have only been two public meetings on this issue in SIX years — it is not disheartening, it is disgraceful!

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    • Anonymous says:

      They are never going to. They have already said theyve given more than enough information.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Well … that’s a relief especially when all the “yes” votes will stay home. On a small island the “no” will definitely be annonymous. My only hope is that on December 19 there will be 50+1% of us to make victimization pointless.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    If your vote has to stay secret, then there is really something wrong.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Private is different than secret. Nothing wrong with private – the accepted standard norm anywhere votes are allowed to be taken.

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  13. Of course the "Transparent" Government of National Unity is obfuscating the laws for their own gain says:

    Because he doesn’t want members of his coalition getting cold feet when they see their constituents vote no

    The only thing these politicians value more than the money they get are their own necks
    They wont back the project if it means losing their seats, which is why Alden arranged this

    It is why they don’t want a count released by constituency or even by district, it would cause his benches to take a second look at their positions in regards to their own reelection chances
    The government is expecting a no vote, they are counting on the margin to be small enough for them to use the loophole they wrote into the constitution to treat the referendum as advisory and ignore it

    Its pure politics from Alden, he thinks he is some sort of political grand strategist
    MLAs like John John and Austin would have to publicly go against their constituencies to side with the government
    That is the reason the count is being done this way

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  14. Aldone the Clown says:

    Only doing it this way so that his caucus doesn’t freak out and rebel when they see their individual constituencies voting no by solid margins
    The opposition should fight this at every step and try to get an amendment in the house

    Part of the Gov narrative will be when they lose that the votes were from outside of GT from people who want to sink the project but GT voters want it which is why they elected PPM members

    Alden thinks he is some grand political strategist, the man lost 3 sitting ministers in one night, anyone taking his lead on politics might as well give up

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    • Anonymous says:

      “GT voters want it ” WTF??? Who said????
      BTW, this was not his ‘mandate’. And I did NOT wote for him. Stop making sweeping statements of which you know nothing about.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I want the premier to know how Red Bay votes so he find a new job come election day.

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