In the Federation, there is a system of continuous registration. That is, any eligible person at any given time can apply to become registered as an elector. But conditions apply.
An applicant must present him/herself in person at one of our two offices (Basseterre or Charlestown), and prove to the staff that he/she has already attained the age of 18. This is the first step. Also, the applicant must provide proof of citizenship either through a passport, birth certificate or Social Security card. Then, the applicant must be placed in the correct constituency and polling division. For this, it is necessary to determine the residence of the applicant, and proof of address must be provided by the applicant. This information, along with the applicant’s occupation, must be published (termed the monthly list, ML), in the requisite constituency and polling division to give existing electors an opportunity to scrutinise the application. The name, address, occupation and picture, become the electoral identification of the registrant.
Publication of the ML is done by the Registration Officers by posting it at conspicuous public places in the constituency. The law requires this to be done by the 30th of the month of registration; and the public has 15 days in which to express an opinion. If there is no objection, or if an objection is made, heard and rejected, then the applicant becomes confirmed to the Register, and that confirmation is again published in the Monthly Revised List, MRL. If an objection is made and upheld, then the application is rejected and the applicant is so advised.
The above process applies to nationals (persons born here) who reside in the Federation. If they do not reside in the Federation, they are placed in the constituency from which they emigrated at the time of emigration or the address at which they have built a residence which is habitually occupied when they come home. The latter takes precedence.
For citizens by descent (adult children/grandchildren of nationals who were born abroad), they will, by law, be registered in the parents/grandparents constituency, with the mother’s or grandmother’s line taking precedence. Again, if this citizen has built a house and habitually resides there when in the Federation, it is that address that will be used to place them.
Citizens by marriage follow the spousal arrangements.
Economic citizens have no right of registration by virtue of their citizenship per se. However, once they can prove residence for 12 continuous months, then they become eligible.
Commonwealth citizens (CC) also have a right to register to vote, but only if they have been legally resident for 12 continuous months as determined via the immigration stamp in their passport. It is important to note that in all cases, continuous residence does not prohibit brief absences of 2 weeks or less; nor does it prohibit absences on national duty. If a CC has legally resided for 12 unbroken months and then goes abroad, on return that CC is still eligible for registration. It is only when the departure is before the completion of the 12 month period in the first instance does the clock reset.
Any and every application is subject to public scrutiny and verification by our Registration Officers.
The aim of the Electoral Office is not to disenfranchise any eligible voter, but rather to ensure that each registrant has one vote in the right place and at the right time.