Update 1:40pm: Six out of ten eligible voters have now participated in the 2013 General Election, according to latest numbers. An update from the Cayman Islands Election Office indicated that the total amount of voters up to 1pm was 11,084. That’s 60.03 per cent, to be exact, when taking into account postal and mobile ballots.
The 11am to 1pm segment in total saw 2,580 voters in 2013. This compares to 2,079 for the same time period in the 2009 election.
West Bay’s 2,499 so far represents 59.36 per cent of all eligible voters; George Town’s 4,608 is 62.03 per cent; Cayman Brac and Little Cayman had posted 630 voters by 1pm, which was 60.58 per cent; Bodden Town’s 2,600 is 57.18 per cent; North Side so far is 351 people, or 58.6 per cent; and East End’s 396 voters represents 61.97 per cent.
Update noon: By 11am Wednesday, nearly half of all the eligible voters in the Cayman Islands had cast ballots in the general election, including mobile and postal ballot voters.
The Elections Office reported a total of 8, 504 ballots cast through 11am, with 1,252 of those being postal or mobile votes.
In terms of people who actually showed up to the polls between 7am and 11am, some 7,252 had turned up – just shy of 40 per cent of all Cayman Islands voters.
Combined with the postal and mobile ballots, some 46 per cent of all Cayman Islands voters had cast their votes through 11am Wednesday.
Typically, the first four hours of an election are the heaviest turnout periods after which the number of voters sees a steady drop. However, voter turnout was on pace early in the day to at least break 80 per cent by the time the polls closed at 6pm.
Nearly 5,000 people cast their ballots in the Cayman Islands general elections by 9am Wednesday, including mobile and postal balloting numbers.
Just more than 3,700 voters turned up to the polls across the Cayman Islands between 7am and 9am, and another 1,252 voted early through postal and mobile balloting.
Compared to the 2009 general election, when 3,413 people voted between the hours of 7am and 9am, it would seem that voter turnout was slightly higher in this election so far.
However, the Cayman Islands Electoral Register added about 3,300 new voters between now and then so the increase is not quite as great when compared to the total number of voters.
Lines were stacking up around all four West Bay polling stations by 7am.
Among the early voters at Sir John A. Cumber Primary School were former Premier McKeeva Bush and his wife Kerry.
The first two through the primary school doors Wednesday were Vernlee Ebanks and Leroy Bodden.
“The earlier the better,” Mr. Bodden said. “It gets frustrating when you have to wait in line.”
Heads up West Bay voters: A section of West Church Street is closed to vehicle traffic between the four-way stop and Elizabeth Street in anticipation of heavy traffic during election day. Voters were parking at the Centennial Plaza and walking to the voting station there.
The voter line was long but moving briskly at Bodden Town Primary School first thing Wednesday morning.
Parked cars stretched down both sides of the streets near the polling place at The Grounds in Lower Valley.
Bodden Town incumbent Mark Scotland was out at Bodden Town Primary right as the polls opened.
He said, “It’s a bright new day, a sunny day. I see people lining up ready at the polls, which is a good sign that we’ll see a good turnout today. That’s what I’d like to see, a very good turnout, people exercising their democratic right.
“Now it’s left in the hands of the voters, and I’m sure they’re going to make a good decision today and keep Cayman going forward, keep Cayman growing and developing for the future.”
Small groups of voters filed into the John Gray High School just after 7am Wednesday, parking their cars a fair distance down the street form the entrance of the polling station.
Right down the street, at the Family Life Centre, the Elections Office counting station and Command Centre was open for business and marking the end of an era of sorts.
The 2013 general election will be Elections Supervisor Kearney Gomez’s last and also the last for his two deputies, Colford Scott and Orrett Connor.
Mr. Gomez said all polling stations opened on time Wednesday morning and there were no incidents that he knew of.
The 2013 election is the first general election to be observed by both local and international poll-watchers. The previous two constitutional referendums had been observed locally, but not by Commonwealth Parliamentary Association observers, according to Mr. Gomez.
Before the polls even opened at 7am, nearly seven per cent of the Cayman Islands’ eligible voting population had cast their ballots through either postal or mobile voting options.
According to statistics from the Elections Office, some 595 postal ballots had been cast and 657 mobile votes were counted up.
Those won’t be officially tallied until after the vote count begins prior to the close of the polls at 6pm Wednesday.