Voters list could top 18,000

Elections Office starts registration drive

If all the eligible people sign up, Cayman’s register of electors could increase from 15,161 to over 18,000, Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez told registering officers on Thursday. 

He cited three groups – Caymanians who have recently reached the voting age of 18; people who have been eligible for years but chose not to register; people who are newly eligible under the voter qualifications as set out in the Constitution of the Cayman Islands in effect since November 2009. 

Registering officers in Grand Cayman met last week to brainstorm about how to conduct a registration drive. They agreed to do what they have done in the past – make registration more convenient by setting up stations outside supermarkets every Saturday from 1 September through 1 December. 

Contact will also be made with churches to see if registration booths can be set up on specified dates. 

Of course, people may go to the Elections Office any day Monday through Friday, between 8.30am and 5pm. 

Registration forms are available from the Elections Office or on its website, www.electionsoffice.ky. Applicants should note what documents are required and bring them along. 

People who register on or before 2 January, 2013, will be on the list that becomes official on 1 April: that is the list that will be in effect for the general elections in May 2013. 

People who are already on the list do not need to register again. However, if they have moved, they should file a change of address form. This is important because the Elections Office needs to be able to plan for how many voters can be expected at each polling station. The information would be critical if Cayman moved to a system of single-member constituencies, Mr. Gomez pointed out.  

The qualifications to be a voter are set out in section 90 of the constitution. A person is entitled to be registered as an elector if he or she is a Caymanian, has attained 18 years of age, is resident in the Cayman Islands at the date of registration and has been resident for a period or periods amounting to not less than two years out of the previous four years. 

Anyone who was entitled to be registered before the new constitution came into effect is still so entitled. 

A person applying for registration as an elector should bring a copy of his or her birth certificate. If the applicant was not born in the Cayman Islands, he or she should also submit a copy of the birth certificate of a parent or grandparent who was born in Cayman. 

If the applicant possesses Caymanian status, he or she should submit a birth certificate and a copy of the letter or certificate of status. 

Anyone who is not yet 18 on the day a writ is issued for an election but who will turn 18 on or before the polling date may register if he or she is otherwise qualified. 

A person otherwise qualified will not be entitled to register if he or she is serving a prison sentence of more than 12 months or has been adjudged to be of unsound mind. 

If an applicant born in the Cayman Islands needs a copy of a birth certificate, it can be obtained from the General Registry in the Citrus Grove Building for $10. 

In the 2008 registration drive, there were people who did fill out an application form, but then never brought in their birth certificate. Registering officers now advise that they will not accept any application form unless the person has the required documentation. If the applicant brings everything required, the officer can say then and there that the person qualifies. 

A copy of the voters list can be found in all government post offices and district libraries. It can also be checked on-line. People who want to check names on the list should use these resources. They should not call the Elections Office and expect staff to check for them, Mr. Gomez said, because it is very disrupting. 

The Registering Officers are Darlene Owens-Elliott, West Bay; Kathryn Myles, George Town; Kerry Nixon, Bodden Town; Leisha Velonie Welcome, East End; Patricia Ebanks, North Side. In Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, Ellen Lazzari has succeeded Georgene Lazzari. 

voter registration officers

Registering officers discuss strategy at the Elections Office: from left, Leisha Velonie Welcome, East End; Pat Ebanks, North Side; Darlene Owens-Elliott, West Bay; Kathryn Myles, George Town. Missing are Kerry Nixon, Bodden Town; and Ellen Lazzari, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. – Photo: Carol Winker

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