0

Chaos After Late Rush To Register For Vote

The Parliamentary Registration Department was swarmed with people on Tuesday morning.

The Parliamentary Registration Department was swarmed with people on Tuesday morning.

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

CHAOS erupted in the Parliamentary Registration Department yesterday after more than 100 persons were told it was too late for them to register to vote for the May 7 general elections.

Police were called to control the crowd, as officials at the department attempted to explain why the register had been closed.

Parliamentary Commissioner Errol Bethel said the register was officially closed on Thursday at 5pm and no one else can be added.

"All those people came to register and we had to explain to them that they could no longer register because the House of Assembly was about to be dissolved. Some of them still insisted to go through the process though knowing they could not get a voters card. You have to register a least one business day before the Parliament is dissolved in order to be eligible to vote," he said.

"We are still, however, issuing voters cards. We had two long lines all day with people picking up their cards. We expected it to happen and we hope more people come, we have at least 20,000 cards in New Providence that have not yet been picked up."

Mr Bethel said while you can still vote once you are registered without the voters card, having it would make the process "much easier."

"We are encouraging people to pick up their cards. It has their polling divisions as well as their constituency name on it so when we announce which polling division is attached to what constituency the voter will know where to go. It eliminates a lot of confusion. You would also want to get it to make sure all the information is correct like the street name and such," he said.

"We can make minor changes to the cards but we cannot transfer constituencies, so whatever constituency you are registered in now is where you will have to vote. As for those registering overseas that has also stopped. The numbers weren't that great but we expected that because most people registered during the summer or the Christmas. Now if you did register overseas but want to vote home you still have about four to five days to do so."

According to Mr Bethel, 172,085 persons have registered to vote in the upcoming elections. Of that number 118,236 or 68 per cent registered in New Providence, 26,966 registered in Grand Bahama and 26,883 in the Family Islands.

More people registered in North Abaco than any other Family Island constituency with 4,424 registered voters. Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island and Acklins had the least number of registered voters with a combined total of 1,369.

In New Providence, the average number of registered voters per constituency was 4,500. Bain and Grants Town had the most registered voters with 5,972 and Elizabeth had the least with 4,759.

Mr Bethel said with over 170,000 persons registered to vote this is the largest voter register in the history of elections in the Bahamas.

In the last election, approximately 150,000 voters registered.

Comments

TalRussell 2 years, 6 months ago

He done rung the bell so the rest is now in the hands of the registered to vote natives.

0

Reader 2 years, 6 months ago

I might be wrong, but I think the act say's the register is to be closed 'the day before' or 'the day prior' to the dissolving of the House, not 'one working day' The day before was a public holiday as was Friday. There should be some grace period allowed because of these 2 public holidays. Maybe the Prime Minister could have said he would dissolve the House on Wednesday or Thursday and those of you who had not registered yet you have 24 or 48 hours to do so. That seems to be an orderley way to call elections. Every citizen should have the right to vote. You will always have people who for one reason or another wait to the last minute and should not be penalized for it.

0

Domingo 2 years, 6 months ago

Yes they should be: there is no reason, none whatsoever to not have registered already. People have to learn to follow rules as there are always consequences.

0

Foxxy 2 years, 6 months ago

Bahamians too like to wait for the last minute. The PM kept telling people to register, so they had more than sufficient warning / grace period as you put it. If 170,000 plus persons can find the time to register with all of the available places to do so (Marathon Mall, coming to persons place of work, etc.), those who have not registered have NO EXCUSE AT ALL.

0

dacy 2 years, 6 months ago

come on...i think registration posts were set up all over the place for over a year or more for all who was interested in voting, i have personal reasoned with individuals to go register even if they were sure if they were going to vote. damn it bahamians stop blaming Hubert for everything....

0

Reader 2 years, 6 months ago

"There is no reason, none whatsoever to not have registered already." How about I just turned 18 on Friday of last week?

And who was blaming the Honorable Prime Minister for anything? I assume you must know him personally to call him Hubert.

1

des 2 years, 6 months ago

I agree with you Who's blaming HAI? I felt bad for those who just turned 18 on Good Friday, Saturday , Sunday and Easter Monday.

0

Domingo 2 years, 6 months ago

Well, those who turned 18 over the holiday weekend will get their chance next time, its as simple as that.

1

Sign in to comment