Be sure to use correct procedure when marking election ballots

Elections Office advises on procedure and multimember constituencies

Voters in several districts will be able to choose more than one candidate when they mark their ballot in the general election on 22 May. 

These districts are referred to as multimember constituencies because more than one member of the Legislative Assembly represents the district. 

For example, Bodden Town now has four seats in the assembly and voters in that district may therefore vote for four candidates out of the 13 who will be on the ballot. 

However, they are not obliged to vote for four – they may vote for as many as four. 

The Elections Law makes it clear that there is only one restriction: No person shall vote for the election of more candidates than there are seats to be filled for that district. 

Therefore, with George Town now having six seats in the Legislative Assembly, voters may choose as many as six candidates, out of 21.  

West Bay has four seats in the legislature and voters there may choose as many as four of 14 candidates. 

The district of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman has two seats and voters there may choose one or two of the four candidates. 

North Side and East End have one seat apiece and voters in these districts therefore have one vote. These districts have two candidates each. 

The Elections Office has sent out an advisory to emphasise the importance of following the correct procedure. “All electors must be aware that to vote for more candidates than are specified for their districts will result in their ballots being rejected at the count. 

“Furthermore, to give a candidate more than one vote, although not a spoilt ballot, will only be counted as one vote.” 

A voter marks his or her choice by placing an “X” to the right of the candidate’s name. 

Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez pointed out at a recent training session that the “X” system has been in use since 1959. The law does provide that, where a different mark is used, the vote will be valid if the voter’s intention is clear to see when the ballots are counted.  

However, if the voter marks the ballot paper in any way that will identify the voter, the ballot paper will be rejected at the count.  

Election officials said enquiries have been made as to whether a pen could be used to mark the ballot paper or would an elector have to only use the pencil provided in the poll booth. 

The answer: “Ballot papers can be marked with a ballpoint pen or the pencil provided in the poll booth. However, the use of fountain pens is discouraged as the mark on the ballot made by the elector could show through the ballot paper. Electors should be aware that in marking the ballot paper an ‘X’ must be made next to the candidate/s for whom they wish to vote.”

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