Deaths cause dip in voter numbers

There are fewer registered voters in the Cayman Islands today than seven and a half months ago when these islands held a general election. 

On May 22, 2013, there were 18,492 people on the Official Register of Electors. The latest Register of Electors, which came into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, shows a total of 18,466 – a decrease of 26. 

The main reason was the removal from the register of the names of people who have died, said Supervisor of Elections Wesley Howell. 

“We did record a significant number of deaths which contributed greatly towards the lower numbers on the Register of Electors,” he explained. “For example, with the October revised list, we recorded the removal of 34 electors due to death, with 10 deaths in Cayman Brac/Little Cayman, one in East End, two in North Side, three in Bodden Town, eight in West Bay, and 10 in George Town.  

“Prison sentences exceeding 12 months, loss of residency requirements, and being declared certifiably insane are other reasons why individuals would be removed from the register,” Mr. Howell said. 

The Elections Law requires certain public officers to supply information to the Supervisor of Elections. The Registrar General must transmit a list of people age 17 and over whose deaths have been registered under the Births and Deaths Registration Law. The Clerk of Court is required to supply a list of everyone under sentence of death, serving a sentence exceeding 12 months, or under a sentence exceeding 12 months that has been suspended. 

The Elections Office receives notices of deaths on a monthly basis, while notices of prison sentences and certifications of unsound mind are received on a quarterly basis.

Meanwhile, “very few” people have come to the Elections Office to apply to register as a voter, reported office manager Tosca Connor. People have told her they could not register because the elections were over, she said. She informs them that “Registration is ongoing. It’s continuous.” 

Residents who have qualified since the general elections can come in to the office or apply to their district registering officer, she pointed out. 

Most visitors to the Elections Office in the Smith Road Centre are registered voters who want their electors registration card, largely because they want to use it as a “photo ID,” Ms Connor said. This is especially important to people who do not have a passport or driver’s license. 

One problem that arises is with voters who have moved since registering. “They want their voters card, but we won’t give them one unless they give us their new address,” Ms Connor emphasized. That means filing a Form 13. This form is also to be submitted for any change of name or occupation. A card will not be issued immediately because it must be processed by the district registering officer. 

The Elections Office is open 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and application forms – either for new voters or notice of changes – can be downloaded from the website www.electionsoffice.ky. 

Mr. Howell encouraged qualified individuals to register at the earliest possibility. “With the ever present possibility of a snap by-election (when a seat becomes vacant due to death or otherwise) or national referendum, persons who are not on the currently list of electors may miss the opportunity to exercise their democratic right, specifically because the timelines may be so short that the most current list would be the official one.” 

He revealed that election officials are planning public awareness around “off season” registration this year. 

The new Register of Electors Present shows a slight drop in voter totals for every district except East End, which remained the same, at 641. 

North Side is down three, from 599 to 596. 

Cayman Brac and Little Cayman is down by just one, from 1,041 to 1,040. 

Bodden Town has changed from 4,550 voters to 4,547. 

West Bay showed the biggest decrease, from 4,220 to 4,209. 

In George Town, the net loss of eight took the number of voters from 7,441 to 7,433. 

This story has been amended from the original.