Candidates, agents briefed

Officials from the Elections Office conducted a briefing on election protocol for candidates and agents at the Mary Miller Hall last week.

The session was scheduled as part of what Election Officers refer to as a landmark election for the Cayman Islands.

Some improvements listed by presenters included the increasingly popular mobile voting, which allows voters to vote in advance of Election Day by home visit or at stations in each of the Districts.

Deputy Elections Supervisor Orrett Connor, who led last week’s briefing, said he was particularly thankful for such turnout. He added that he was even more pleased that all supporters could coexist. ‘This is true democracy,’ he declared.

An instruction video detailing the expectations of candidates, agents and elections officers for Election 2009 was then viewed by the audience.

Polls will open at 7.00am tomorrow and close at 6.00pm, provided the last voter in line has voted. That that time, the ballot box will be sealed. Boxes will then be collected by returning officers. The candidate’s agent is allowed to accompany the box at this point- throughout its chain of custody.

Representatives of the Election’s Office also made it clear that the cut off point for appointing agents was Saturday, 9 May. They said it was also mandatory that agents be registered to vote in the district in which they were acting as agents for a candidate.

At 6.30am, all agents are expected to be at their respective polling station in order to take an oath and are prohibited from possessing any communication devices.

Candidates are allowed in the station while agents are there. However they can only stay for 10 minutes, after which they must leave.

Officers on hand for the Elections Office said they also wanted to stress that no one would be allowed inside the polling station with a ‘Vote For….T shirt.’ They added that supporters and all other bystanders were asked to stay at least 300 feet away from the stations.

As defined by the Elections Officials on hand, agents are the eyes and ears of a candidate. They are there to represent their candidate’s interest and ensure a fair process.