Premier wants to extend voter registration

Cayman Islands Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly got unanimous support Thursday for a motion seeking to extend Cayman’s voter registration deadline to 31 January ahead of the 22 May general election.

However, it is Governor Duncan Taylor who will have the last word on the matter. Mr. Taylor had not responded to comments on the motion that passed the Legislative Assembly Thursday afternoon.

“Based on information that we’ve received there are probably still another 3,000-plus voters who opted not to vote for various reasons,” Premier O’Connor-Connolly said, adding that she had written to Governor Taylor seeking to extend the previous 2 January voter registration deadline. The governor indicated he wanted evidence that assembly members supported such a move.

According to Elections Office estimates, roughly 3,000 new voters have registered since the last referendum election held in Cayman in July 2012. That will bring the total number of voters to somewhere around 18,000 – a 20 per cent increase from a year ago.

It does appear there is general legislative support for extending the deadline to the end of this month.

Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin said Thursday that his People’s Progressive Movement party would support the extension as long as the Elections Office could get everything it needed to done in time.

“We may have to make some amendments to the Elections Law or some of the regulations,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “Assuming that those issues can be resolved…so that we don’t get in problems with nomination day, we want the governor to know that this has our full support.”

East End MLA Arden McLean also supported the motion and said more should be done to simply the registration process, particularly for younger voters.

It’s so onerous to get registered,” he said. “We need to make it as easy as possible. However, the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the citizens of this country who become eligible to vote once they turn 18 years of age.”

West Bay MLA McKeeva Bush also said his four-member United Democratic Party supported the registration deadline extension.

“We don’t want to disenfranchise anyone, and so we offer our support to the motion,” he said.

 

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Premier O’Connor-Connolly
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