Turnout likely less than 60 per cent
Update 8pm: A few early results are trickling in from Grand Cayman’s outer districts. In North Side, 208 voters have said “yes” to the referendum question. Forty voters there said “no” and there was one spoiled ballot.
In East End, 60 voters said “yes” and 28 said “no”.
In Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, 100 voters said “yes” to the referendum question and 85 voters said “no”. There was one spoiled ballot recorded.
As the six o’clock hour brought Cayman’s referendum voting to a close Wednesday, it looked as though voter turnout on the ‘one man, one vote’ issue would be a disappointment.
At 6pm, Deputy Elections Supervisor Colford Scott radioed all polling stations to advise that the polls should be closed.
The next step was getting ballot boxes moved to the counting stations, where the count was scheduled to start at 7pm.
Ballot boxes from polling stations George Town’s local schools began arriving at the Family Life Centre counting station about half an hour after polling stations closed at 6pm.
The ballot boxes arrived in school buses, carried by election officials.The first ballot boxes to arrive were from George Town South, which was located at the nearby Clifton Hunter High School.
Ballots from districts outside George Town were counted in local counting stations in West Bay, Bodden Town, North Side, East End and in the Sister Islands
As of 6pm, fewer than 8,500 people had cast ballots (earlier updates and photos can be found on this page). That includes some 293 mobile (early) voters and all those who had turned out for Wednesday’s balloting.
The number does not include postal ballots, some 342 of which were issued by the elections office. Those postal ballots will be the first counted in the election tally.
The final vote count reached 8,373 ballots cast, not including postal ballots.
According to the elections office, 8,080 voters had turned up at the polls between 7am and 6pm Wednesday. Added to that were 293 mobile voters.
The number is significant for the referendum. It means that at least 7,582 people voted – the minimum number of “yes” votes or “no” votes that would have to be received for the ‘one man, one vote’ referendum to be binding on government.
However, with only 8,373 of 15,161 possible votes cast it would appear that either side of the issue would have to obtain somewhere around 90 per cent favourable votes to win the day. Otherwise, the referendum would be considered only “advisory” to government.
North Side MLA Ezzard Miller – a major supporter of the ‘one man, one vote’ issue – said Wednesday afternoon that he had been looking for a turnout of between 70 and 80 per cent. Seventy per cent eligible voters would mean more than 10,600 ballots cast in the referendum. That didn’t happen.
“I’m pleased with the turnout of North Side voters,” Mr. Miller said. North Side had the highest percentage turnout of any of the voting districts.
Minister Rolston Anglin said he was not surprised by the turnout, though he and his colleagues were disappointed that more people did not exercise their democratic right to vote.
“It’s the first national referendum [outside of an election] and it’s certainly an unknown. We don’t have anything to gauge [voter turnout] against,” he said.
Mr. Anglin said he said the low turnout was likely an indication that people were not interested in changing the existing voting system, despite his party urging people not to assume that by failing to cast a ballot they were effectively casting a no vote.
“The turnout is low,” said Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin. “Quite frankly it’s what we expected, with the campaign the Premier initiated, saying if you don’t know don’t go.”
Mr. McLaughlin said his party’s next steps would depend on the actual results of the vote.