Number of registering officers not expected to increase with single-member constituencies
The number of registered voters in Cayman has continued to decline since the general elections in May 2013.
As of Jan. 1, 2016, the Official Register of Voters kept by the Elections Office shows a total of 18,271 people registered to cast a ballot. This is a drop of 221 from the all-time high of 18,492 when voters last went to the polls.
The decrease has been steady: there were 18,466 voters in January 2014, and 18,323 in January 2015.
Supervisor of Elections Wesley Howell explained the decrease since last year: “The registering officers, in some cases acting on concerns from the public, have been removing ineligible names from the electoral register. Unfortunately, the number of persons added during the year totaled some 84, while a larger number of names, 136, were removed, mainly due to deaths and persons being sentenced to more than 12 months in prison.”
Mr. Howell pointed out that registering to vote is voluntary.
“The registering officers can only add eligible persons who take the first step and submit completed registration forms,” he said.
He said an estimated 5,000 people are unregistered but are eligible to register.
A breakdown of voter totals by what Mr. Howell referred to as “traditional district boundaries” shows the following decreases since April 1, 2013 – the voter list in effect for the May 2013 elections:
George Town: From 7,441 voters to 7,374, a decrease of 67
Bodden Town: From 4,550 to 4,526, a decrease of 24
West Bay: From 4,220 to 4,156, a decrease of 64
Cayman Brac and Little Cayman: From 1,041 to 1,013, a decrease of 28
East End shows a net loss of 20, from 641 to 621
North Side went from 599 voters to 581, a decrease of 18.
Now that the order has been signed for single-member constituencies to come into effect, the Cayman Islands is divided into 19 electoral districts.
The Elections Law requires that each electoral district have a registering officer, but Mr. Howell does not expect the number of registering officers to increase.
“The existing registering officer complement will operate within traditional district boundaries,” he said. “It is, however, expected that the larger traditional districts will see the formal adoption of a provision in the existing law, where it is possible to appoint assistant registering officers to cover the number of voters in the single-member constituencies that fall within the larger traditional district boundaries.”
Registering to vote is an ongoing process and is not limited to an election year, Elections Office manager Tosca Connor pointed out.
Last year, Ms. Connor suggested one reason for the decrease in voter numbers was that people who have become eligible have not registered. The voting age is 18.
Residents who are qualified can come to the Elections Office on the second floor of the Smith Road Centre, or apply to their district registering office.
Gina Whittaker, receptionist and ID technician, said a few people have been coming in to register, but more have come to file a change of name or address. She has a camera on hand to make voter ID cards. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Application forms for voter registration or change of a voter’s name, address or occupation may be obtained from the office or downloaded from the website www.electionsoffice.ky. Form 4, the application for registration as an elector, explains what documents are needed to apply.
The following people serve as registering officers for their electoral districts:
West Bay: Darlene Owens-Elliott
George Town: Kathryn Myles
Bodden Town: Kerry Nixon
East End: Leisa Velonie Welcome
North Side: Patricia Ebanks
Cayman Brac and Little Cayman: Ellen Lazzari