Adult suffrage is too important a right to citizens and residents not to allow for judicial review for persons who feel aggrieved by any decision that affects their right to registration. That is why we advised that any decisions of the Registration Officers & the Chief Registration Officer can be challenged in Court of Justice. This is enshrined in the law.
It is precisely because of this possibility why the RO’s are constantly being trained to conduct themselves impeccably. This means that anybody who gives evidence at hearings must do so under oath, and the information presented must be recorded and then verified by the research of the Registration Officer. That research must also be documented. Sadly, many witnesses are only willing to give information and not evidence; so the job of verification through enumeration becomes critically important.
In 2016, many objectees did not attend the hearings. Some did not get the notices that were sent by registered mail (because they never lived at the address stated or had moved away), some chose not to collect the notices, and yet others actually told us that they are not interested, could not be bothered or couldn’t afford the time. However, the law allows for a hearing to take place with or without the party objected to being present (ex-partie hearing). Besides, it is not considered proper to allow an injustice to continue merely because a party chooses to ignore the summons.
While the legislation allows for an appeal to a decision of the RO, it specifies that an appeal can only be considered if the party appealing has availed him/herself of the opportunity of defense at the actual first hearing. This is very important: you cannot stay away and sabotage the electoral process. Do not expect that a no-show on your part means that no decision will be made.
Be aware too, that the appeal must come within seven days of the decision, i.e. after the publication of the Revised Annual Register of Voters.
Hearings will start in March 2017.
It bears repeating that our intention is to facilitate one man, one vote in the right place, and fairness to all.