As far back as 2006, the White Paper that was published by the [Labour] Government, and which ushered in Electoral Reform, stated in part, that “in keeping with our democratic and constitutional rights, these reforms will not disenfranchise any voter…”
In similar vein, today’s Electoral Commission does not wish to disenfranchise any voter. It would rather have repositioning than removal of voters from the Voter Register. Thus, it has mandated me as the Chief Registration Officer to have Claims supersede Objections. Therefore, if a registered voter who has been objected to requests to transfer his/her vote, then the claim for transfer would be processed rather than have the objection hearing. That, of course, refers to persons who have changed addresses.
The hearings have been held and the recommendations have been made to allow or disallow for objectees who have not sought to transfer. It bears repeating that a successful objection will result in a removal and the person will need to re-apply and be processed; and this will take 60 days. A claim will also take as long, except that the name will remain where it is until the transfer is completed.
In Nevis, some boundaries are not clearly defined and registration and re-registration often results in objection. Unfortunately, our software programme may be partly at fault for this in that it recognises certain addresses as being in a particular constituency when it may not be.
The boundary line between Nevis 9 and Nevis 10, in the Pond Hill area, and between Nevis 9 and Nevis 11, the Hamilton area; these areas are defined with imaginary lines and have no easily identifiable landmark.
To resolve this matter, the community, and especially the elderly of the community, will be called upon, in open forum community meetings to help define boundary lines. Once this is completed, then a final decision will be made as to where these voters actually belong. As such, these objection decisions will be held in abeyance pending these meetings (proposed for April 20th at Pond Hill and April 25th at CSS).
It would help considerably too, when our streets become named.
Also, anyone whose objection has been upheld will be granted 5 working days after their notification to transfer to the rightful place. If they fail to do so, then they will be excluded and would be subject to the 2 month application process.
All this is being done to not disenfranchise anyone, but to give equal opportunity to voters so we can have one vote in the right place at the right time and fairness for all.