More than two-thirds of the respondents to last week’s cayCompass.com online poll say they support the concept of single member constituencies, also known as ‘one person, one vote’.
Currently, residents of Grand Cayman’s five districts have differing numbers of elected members of the Legislative Assembly representing them, roughly dependent on the number of voters living in their district. Voters in larger districts such as George Town and West Bay get to vote for four representatives during general elections, while people in North Side and East End only get to vote for one.
Voters in Bodden Town elect three representatives while those in the Sister Islands elect two. Under the ‘one person, one vote’ proposal, Grand Cayman would be divided into equally-sized single-members constituencies with every citizen only voting for one person in his or her constituency.
A large majority of the 549 respondents to the poll – 371 people or 67.6 per cent – said they support the proposal.
“That’s the way it is all over the world, right?” said one person.
“One man, one vote; this is a basic concept,” said someone else. “Why it is not already enacted is a mystery to me.”
“How can one man, one vote be considered bad for a country?” asked another respondent.
“It is a principle of democracy,” said someone else.
“It’s long overdue,” said one person.
Another 37 people – 6.8 per cent – said they supported everyone having the same number of votes, but not single member constituencies.
“Single member constituencies increase the chances that some unsavoury types get elected,” said one person.
“The political free-for-all that would be caused by single member constituencies could be very dangerous for Cayman,” said someone else.
Fifty-five people – 10 per cent – said they were against one person, one vote.
“I don’t support one man, one vote,” said one person. “It may seem unfair for North Side and East End voters, but that’s just the reality of living there.”
“The so-called “one man, one vote” system is a form of ‘first past the post’ system, which is generally viewed worldwide as being undemocratic,” said someone else. “It results in a plurality of votes winning and favours political parties, whose ‘machine’ can get out their votes. Be very careful what you wish for. Proportional representation is the most democratic, but requires a politically savvy electorate to maximise its benefit.”
“One man, 15 votes is more like democracy,” said another person.
Sixty-five people – 11.8 per cent – said they can’t vote so they didn’t care about the matter, while 21 respondents – 3.8 – said that while they could vote, they still didn’t care about the issue.
“Mathematically, it makes no difference,” said one person. “It’s called proportional representation for a reason.”
“How many thousands are completely unrepresented?” asked someone else. “How many voters decide on the government and Cayman laws?”
Next week’s poll question
What grade would you give the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service over the past year?
I don’t know