Voter numbers top 18,000 mark

Elections Office sees 907 last-day applicants

The predicted total of registered voters for the 22 May general election is 18,153, Deputy Supervisor of Elections Colford Scott announced minutes after midnight on Thursday. 

With Wednesday, 2 January, the long-announced last day to register, 863 people attended the Elections Office at the Smith Road Centre in George Town to fill out the application form to register as voters and submit the documents showing they qualified. Another 44 people applied to register in the Sister Island of Cayman Brac, for a total of 907. 

Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez cautioned that the official number of voters will not be known until a new list is released with the names and details of the recent applicants. Then members of the public will have the right to check the list, put in a claim if they believe they have been left off or file an objection if they believe someone should not be on the list. 

That list will be published on 22 January, with 12 February the deadline for any claims or objections. Registering officers will also be deleting the names of voters who are deceased, certified insane, sentenced to a prison term exceeding 12 months, or who have lost their residency requirement. 

The register of electors that will be used for the general elections will come into force on 1 April. 

Along with the hundreds of registration applicants that kept election workers busy almost nonstop for 15 and a half hours, about 280 people came in to amend their registration details – most usually a change of name or address. A further 22 attended the office of Registering Officer Ellen Lazzari in Cayman Brac to file changes. 

These updates of voter information were just one reason why it was not possible to say at this stage precisely how many voters there are in each of the six electoral districts. Some people who have changed addresses may have moved within the same district, while others may have moved to a different district, Mr. Gomez said. 

All of the data will now be checked by each district registering officer and then entered into the Elections Office computerised list of voters. Each address will then be used to determine the voter’s polling district – the place each voter will go to cast his or her ballot. 

With a few inevitable modifications to the voter total of 18,153, both Mr. Gomez and Mr. Scott were comfortable with the prediction that the final tally would remain more than 18,000. 

By comparison, there were 15,161 voters registered when the “one man, one vote” referendum was held in July 2012. For the 2009 general election, the voter total was 15,361. In 2005, the total was 13,118. 

Wednesday night was not without some drama. One concerned man came to see Mr. Gomez and explain that his son was stuck in Miami because a flight was late and it appeared that he would not get to Grand Cayman before midnight. The man agreed that his son had known about the deadline for a long time. “Time caught up with him,” he concluded. 

Mr. Gomez assured him and other interested individuals that people may continue to register to vote at any time: They will not be able to vote in the May general election, but they will be included thereafter and will then be able to vote in subsequent elections, bye-elections and referendums. 

“There has to be a cut-off point,” he emphasised. “A lot of work remains to be done between now and 22 January to get the next quarter’s register of electors ready for scrutiny.”