Register cut-off is HR issue
(CNS): No new voters can be added to the electoral roll before the referendum because the update period is quarterly, but campaigners for one man, one vote have suggested that this could become a human rights issue as the cut-off occurred before the referendum law was passed. The law was officially gazetted yesterday, 16 May, which means that existing voters who will not be in the Cayman Islands on 18 July when the national poll will take place can now apply for an absentee ballot. However, anyone who had not registered with the Elections Office before the end of April cannot vote in the referendum.
Although this is as a result of the existing law and not a government policy, the OMOV campaigners have said that government could make an amendment to the election law in order to facilitate new voters. The register closes each quarter to give the public time to review or object to new names on the list over issues of entitlement and if they so wish raise objections. The register is also checked by a magistrate to ensure all the people on the roll have the lawful right to vote.
The recent revelations that government has, in accordance with the new constitution, dropped the need for those with Caymanian Status to also be naturalized before being eligible to vote could also have seen the register boosted before the referendum, but because the list closed at the end of April it is unlikely many new voters would have had the chance to beat the cut-off date.
Johann Moxam, one of the grass roots campaigners, said that the people should pressure their MLAs to make the change to the law, which will give those who want to vote and are entitled to vote the right to do so. “The law can be changed, and given the importance of this vote, we want the public to put pressure on their representatives to ensure that everyone has the right to take part in the democratic process,” he said.
Sharon Roulstone said that during the campaign to collect signatures for the one man, one vote petition the volunteers managed to get a number of new voters to register and left forms with many more. But she said she was concerned that not everyone had made the deadline.
“People who had never even had any interest in politics before expressed a desire to become registered as a result of this campaign,” she said, adding that they were now being disenfranchised because of the early cut-off point.
She said that this was another hurdle to add to those placed by government in its efforts to ensure the failure of its own referendum. This also places the ‘yes’ campaign at a further disadvantage than if the people-initiated referendum had been allowed to progress as that ballot was planned for November, which would have given those entitled but not registered the time to get on the electoral roll.
With the implementation of the Bill of Rights this November, campaigners for OMOV say the cut-off raises a question of human rights, especially as the premier announced the date of the referendum literally days before the legal cut off point for the quarterly update of the register. The OMOV movement believes that there is time for the government to make an amendment to the law and open the register for another month, allowing people to partake in what will be an historic national referendum.
The premier has denied that his announcement was ‘planned’ to prevent people from being added. He said the date was cut off because of the law and not because of his government.
McKeeva Bush has stated that the July date was selected in order to give government time to implement the changes before the May 2013 general election if the 'yes' vote is successful. However, those who launched the petition for a referendum on the subject have persistently pointed out that the Boundary Commission has already done the work required to create the single member constituencies and that the Elections Office was already in a position to hold the May 2013 election under the system of OMOV.
At present the ‘yes’ campaign will need close to 8,000 votes to carry the day as a result of the high threshold set by government for 50% of the electorate plus one voter, rather than a majority of the turnout. However, if government was to change the law and allow more registrations, then they say the ‘yes’ vote will require a greater number to win and change Cayman’s voting system to the more equitable and accountable mode of one man, one vote in single member constituencies.
According to the law that has now been gazetted, the usual rules for elections will apply, which means registered voters can apply for mobile or absentee voting, and although referendum day will be a holiday, no liquor can be sold while the polling stations are open.
See the Referendum Law below.
|referendum law.pdf||166.78 KB|
- WTS: BB Q10...BB Z10 & Samsung Galaxy S4 BBM Chat: 23A0C377
- Work permit as Online Investor (Personal Investor)
- House for sale - Mt Pleasant WB
- \'09 Honda Fit 4sale
- New Blackberry Q10 Gold Plated and Gold Porsche Design (24 HRS BBM Chat:295941E1)
- Town - Extra Large Bedroom with XL Walk-in Closet
- ONE BEDROOM SHARING $325.00
- CINSA RElays
- Retirement plan
- Make Money Now - Easy as ever
The comments posted do not necessarily reflect the views of CNS or any individual staff member. All comments are posted subject to approval by CNS. Read more
- Errr... no they shouldn't
1 hour 38 min ago
- Let me start by saying that I
1 hour 43 min ago
- This could be
1 hour 52 min ago
- Would that be a white or
2 hours 4 min ago
- Bye-elections or
2 hours 50 min ago
- That was no ego trip. She
2 hours 51 min ago
- Yes, you see Madam Governor
3 hours 12 min ago
- West Star is obsolete. I used
3 hours 22 min ago
- No need for any external
3 hours 38 min ago
- Cayman should look at this
3 hours 42 min ago