Election Law rules are in effect for referendum
Although Referendum Day, 18 July, is a holiday, there are people who will be working in such fields as essential services and tourism-related operations. Employees who are registered voters must be given time off to cast their ballot.
The Referendum (Single-Member Constituencies) Law sets out the legal basis for having the people give their opinion on what has come to be called the “one man, one vote” question. Where procedures are not set out in the referendum law, the Elections Law is to be followed.
Issues include advertising, liquor sales and specified offences, Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez said.
Regarding time off from work, the law states that employers must allow all employees who are registered voters to have a reasonable period to vote. Further, no employer can deduct pay or impose any penalty on the worker who takes time to vote.
Since voters are registered in the district they live in, past experience has shown that many vote on their way to work or on their way home, depending on their circumstances. Polls are open from 7am to 6pm.
Any employer who refuses or interferes with an employee’s time for voting is guilty of an offence and, on conviction, liable to a fine of $500 or imprisonment for six months.
All establishments licensed under the Liquor Licensing Law are forbidden from selling, offering for sale or giving away intoxicating liquor between the opening of the polls and one hour after the polls close: that is, from 7am to 7pm. Anyone convicted of an offence under this section of the Elections Law is liable to a fine of $500 or imprisonment for six months.
The Elections Office also reminds the public that, as with general elections, all referendum advertisements must cease at midnight on 17 July and all banners, buntings, and ensigns must be removed from the public domain by that deadline as well. The use of loudspeakers and the wearing of T-shirts, pins or other paraphernalia are also forbidden on polling day supporting either a yes or no vote. This also applies to motor vehicles. The public should be aware of the other offences contained in the Elections Law which also apply for this referendum. These include but are not limited to bribery, treating and undue influence.
“Police and the Elections Office will be monitoring this closely and anyone who has knowledge of any such alleged infraction should contact either the Police, Elections Office or the Returning Officer for the district in which the alleged infraction has occurred,” states a new release from the Elections Office.