In case our readers had any doubts as to the importance the Cayman Compass places on our local election – beginning today, we’re giving it front page treatment, every day.
The top-right corner of Page 1A is reserved for a “daily countdown” indicating how much time Caymanians have to register to vote in time for the 2017 election.
Our primary motivation is not to influence artificially the outcome of the May general election, but to ensure that Cayman’s citizenry is as well-informed as possible on the candidates and the issues. On Election Day (May 24, 2017), we want our populace to arrive at the polling stations prepared and knowledgeable to cast their ballots for their preferred representative. An informed voter is a responsible voter.
The first order of business for Cayman’s eligible voters is to register to vote or to verify your registration is valid. The reasoning is straightforward: If you aren’t registered by Dec. 31, you can’t vote in the May election. If you can’t vote in the May election, you’ll have to wait another four years before you can participate directly in the next grand exercise of self-governance.
We strongly suggest not sitting out from the 2017 election. Any election is, to a degree, historic. But the upcoming election is certain to rank high atop the list of Cayman’s most important votes — regardless of the outcome — because our country is shifting from “multi-member, multi-vote” districts to a “single-member, single-vote” system.
We and the Elections Office share the common mission of making sure that when the time comes for voters to mark their ballots, they know exactly who they can vote for (the candidates running in their district) and how many they can vote for (just one).
For voters in East End and North Side, “one man, one vote” is business as usual. But elsewhere, there is significant change.
For example, in the 2013 election, voters in George Town could choose up to six candidates. For 2017, the old district of George Town has been dissolved and replaced by seven “mini-districts,” each of which will have one member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).
So if you live in the area of “George Town North,” your polling station will be in George Town North, and you will vote for one single person to represent George Town North. One person, one vote, one representative.
It’s also worth noting that citizens can vote only in the district of their primary residence. If you live in George Town North, but have a second home in East End – you have to vote in George Town North, not East End.
(Those residency restrictions do not apply to the candidates. Theoretically, a candidate could reside in Prospect and vote in Prospect, but run in and represent another district entirely, say West Bay South.)
One man, one vote is an entirely new paradigm for Cayman, and it is impossible for anyone to predict what the results of the change will be.
What you can be certain of, however, is that the Compass will dedicate our resources, efforts and time to ensure that Caymanians are prepared to vote in May 2017, and when the outcome of the election is known, it will accurately reflect the political will of the people.