By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
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.