Mobile polling under way

Nineteen people in Little Cayman made history on Friday when they cast their election and referendum ballots by mobile polling.

Election officers

Deputy Supervisor of Elections Orrett Connor distributes Voters Lists as mobile polling officers collect their paraphernalia from the Elections Office before heading out to East End and North Side. Photo: Carol Winker 

The process continued on Monday when another 87 voters in Cayman Brac, 25 in North Side and 31 in East End were able to cast their ballots in advance of next Wednesday, 20 May, when General Elections and Cayman’s first Referendum take place.

Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez said things went smoothly in Little Cayman and he expected they would continue that way because all officers had been appropriately trained and were committed to their duties.

Home visits are scheduled for the afternoons, with mornings dedicated to mobile voters who go to their district civic centres. Each presiding officer has temporary seals to close the slot in the ballot box between home visits.

Mobile polling was scheduled to take place in Bodden Town yesterday outside the civic centre; George Town today outside the Elections Office at 150 Smith Road; and West Bay tomorrow outside the library (old town hall). District officers are prepared to go over into the next day if necessary to complete visits to voters who cannot go to the polls because of illness or physical incapacity.

Election and referendum officers are also going to hospitals and senior citizens’ homes. All voters taking advantage of mobile polling had to apply in advance. The cut-off date was 7 May.

Since then, Elections Office workers have been phoning the homes of shut-ins to verify the most convenient times for the voting teams to visit. Two logistics teams will leapfrog each other to set up the mobile polling booth, a table for the presiding officer and chairs for observers and agents, so that when the election and referendum officers arrive, everything will be in place.

At a final briefing last Friday, Mr. Gomez reminded them that the home visits will not be social occasions. Of course there will be a pleasant exchange of greetings, he allowed, but no conversations.

Candidates cannot be present at mobile polling. Their agents may attend and accompany the ballot box from place to place with the presiding officer for elections. For the referendum, observers appointed by the Governor, Mr. Stuart Jack, will accompany the ballot box and presiding officer.

Mobile teams include the district returning officer, presiding officer, poll clerks, field officers, logistics officers and police.

Mobile polling became possible after legislators amended the Elections Law last year. The majority of voters taking advantage of this option are those who will be working as election officials and police officers.