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Voter Registration 'Increasing Slowly'

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

VOTER registration has picked up in recent weeks following public expressions of concern about low registration rate, Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlyn Hall said yesterday.

“It’s increasingly slowly,” he told The Tribune, noting that the daily rate has increased “to about 300 and 400”.

The increase coincides with a decision by the Parliamentary Registration Department to relax registration requirements.

Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson told The Tribune last week that Mr Hall accepted legal advice that will allow Bahamians to use their voter’s cards from a previous election to register to vote for next year’s general election without requiring a passport or a birth certificate, unless the commissioner specifically demands that one be produced.

Confirming this yesterday, Mr Hall said: “Once we check our database to determine a card was achieved legitimately, they can be registered.”

More than 57,000 people have registered so far to vote in next year’s election, considerably lower compared to this period prior to the 2012 general election.

The 2012 voter registry consisted of 172,000 voters, 134,000 of whom had registered by this point in 2011.

Among other things, the number of registered voters is expected to impact the work of the Constituencies Commission, mandated to review constituencies every five years to report on whether changes should be made, such as creating new constituencies or expanding or restricting existing ones.

The Tribune reported Tuesday that the Constituencies Commission is set to finalise its report by the end of the month.

Sources say the commission had “agreed in principle” for an additional two seats in New Providence and an additional three seats in the Family Islands.

They are considering splitting the MICAL constituency into two seats, with Inagua and Mayaguana to form one constituency and Acklins, Crooked Island and Long Cay the other.

Other considerations include splitting up the Exuma seat; splitting put the Rum Cay, Cat Island, and San Salvador seat; creating a new seat for Bimini and the Berry Islands; and a third new constituency for New Providence.

In 2011, the commission recommended that three seats be cut from the 41 in Parliament at the time, bringing the total to 38.

Comments

licks2 3 years, 10 months ago

Duh. . .like yinna did not know that when yall say that we don't need them new e-passport to register anymore plenty were going to get it done???!! I been there with my old voters card from 2012 and was told that I needed a passport. . .the new e-passports before I can register! Even though I had a 2012 card that says that I have been in the system for decades. . . I was told that the new e-passports were needed or I could not get registered for 2017! And that's was just about 2 years ago! Then they told me a lil later that I am good to go for the referendum . . . with the same 2012 card that they told me I needed the e-passport to use as proof of eligibility to vote in 2017!

Ergo, many persons from the grass-root areas who could not afford the $250 for the new passports could not register! Heck, even if some of the poor could get their hands on $250. . .don't ya think they had other pressing needs. . .such as keeping their lights on etc. . .rather than go pay $250 for some e-passport to get registered when they had a perfectly legal voters card from 2012 right in their hands!! Now that the high cost of registering to vote has been removed "all" can now register. . .the rich and the poor!

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