By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
MORE than 174,000 Bahamians have registered for next month’s general election, nearly 2,000 more persons than in 2012, according to the latest numbers from the Parliamentary Registration Department.
Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlyn Hall placed the sudden up-tick in registration on “Bahamians’ last minute tendencies.”
There were 172,128 people registered to vote in the 2012 general election, this year’s register now stands at 174,070.
The latest numbers show that as of April 14, Golden Isles has the highest number of registered voters with 6,420 people registered in that area.
In 2012, there were 5,036 people registered in that constituency.
In New Providence, the newly created constituency of St Barnabas has the lowest number of registered voters with 3,819.
However, in an interview with The Tribune, Mr Hall said the numbers “may a change a bit” as his department continues to clean up the register. Mr Hall said a number of “dead” people’s names have already been deleted since the register closed, along with several other persons whose names appeared more than once.
Voter registration for the impending election officially closed last Monday. Mr Hall and his department has 14 to 15 days from that date to clean up the hundreds of reported errors presently on the register.
“We are doing quite well and getting all the dead people off and getting all the discrepancies dealt with,” Mr Hall said yesterday.
“We have surpassed the number of voters that registered in 2012, we are now over that figure. We were down by thousands the week before the register closed - Bahamians came out last minute. That’s the Bahamian way, our tendency and now the numbers have risen. We still have more work to do, but we are getting there.”
Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said earlier this month he is “doubtful” that the Christie administration could produce a “clean” register before the electorate heads to the polls.
FNM Chairman Sidney Collie also raised “grave concerns” regarding the election register, pointing to the discovery of 72 pages of duplicate registrations, names printed of persons born over 200 years ago and some who were born in 2017.
Mr Collie described this as “negligence” and “ineptitude,” saying there are other “irregularities” that have come to light pointing to persons who were reportedly issued citizenship and voter’s cards on the same day.
In response, however, Mr Hall said “the register is only as clean as the cooperation we receive from the voters.”
On Monday, Mr Hall said he is confident the register will be clean in time for the May 10 election.