Polls close, 15,000 voters turn out

Update 7pm: The final count for voter turnout is 14,758 for the entire Cayman Islands.

Although that is the highest total voter turnout in the Islands’ history, percentage-wise, the turnout is slightly lower than what was seen in 2009.

The 2009 general election turnout was 80.54 per cent of eligible voters, while the 2013 general election was 79.93 per cent turnout.

 

Somewhere around 15,000 Cayman Islands voters were expected to turn out as the polls closed on the 2013 general election Wednesday, the largest number of voters to ever participate in an election in the country’s history.

By 5pm Wednesday, 14,183 people had cast their ballots either at the polling locations or via mobile or postal voting, representing nearly 77 per cent of the Cayman Islands registered electors with just an hour left to go in the election.

East End district maintained the highest turnout level at 82 per cent of its registered voters, while Cayman Brac east and central George Town recorded the two lowest voter turnout levels at around 72 per cent turnout.

Elections Supervisor Kearney Gomez said elections had gone smoothly for the most part today, with all polling stations opening on time.

There were a few issues reported in the voting districts over the course of the day. A number of complaints were fielded by the Caymanian Compass about individuals not being allowed to bring their children into the polling stations with them and leaving the little ones in the car while they went and voted.

Mr. Gomez said the rules for attending the polling stations had been set out well in advance of the election date and that children running around inside the voting booth areas would have been an unnecessary distraction.

“You have to be 18 to be registered to vote,” Mr. Gomez said.

Another issue that arose during the day occurred at a West Bay polling station that was apparently a construction site with no electricity and no windows.

The New Testament Church of God on Boatswain Bay Road has about 1,154 registered voters there and a good number still turned out despite the lack of lights or air conditioning in the polling station.

“There’s a good breeze going through the [empty[ windows,” said Darlane Myles, a district voter.

Meanwhile, other issues arose with some candidates using Facebook and other social media pages to “advertise” their candidacies on election day; a no-no under the Elections Law for media like newspapers and television.

Mr. Gomez said that’s an issue elections officials would have to sort out in future elections. The outgoing supervisor said his “exit report” would also recommend a tightening up of campaign finance requirements at the next general election.

“There’s some things that need to be modernised,” Mr. Gomez said, though he did not specifically reference the six-week reporting timeline for candidates prior to the election.

With 639 registered voters, the district cast 558 votes, 87.32 per cent of the area electorate. Early returns indicated John Mclean with a slight advantage, although counting promised to extend for some time.

In second place among the divisional returns was a virtual dead heat between West Bay East, with 1,210 registered voters and 997 votes cast, an 82.4 per cent rate, and George Town East, with 1,387 voters, 1,128 votes cast and an 81.3 per cent rate. Cayman Brac West and Little Cayman recorded 81.1 per cent of their 656 registered voters.

The vote count was due to begin at 7pm.
 

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