More than 21,000 register to vote

Wanda Zelaya, left, of George Town returns her completed correction of address form to Bodden Town Assistant Registering Officer Jane Ebanks. Seated are Senior Training Officer Rupert McCoy and Assistant Registering Officer for George Town Salome Henry.

Cayman Islands elections officials said voter registrations surpassed their own high mark, as more than 21,000 people are likely to cast ballots in the May 24 general election.

Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell earlier estimated that as many as 20,500 voters could be registered by Monday’s midnight deadline.

Unofficial voter tallies through last Thursday, before registration closed, put 20,817 people on the voter lists. However, a last-minute voter push through Friday, Saturday and Monday put that number above 21,000, with an additional 450 people registering, according to elections officials.

Mr. Howell cautioned that those figures are not final, as voters’ applications still have to be confirmed. In addition to ineligible individuals, any deceased voters must be removed from the lists.

Voter numbers will not become official until April 1, pending address checks and any challenges to the lists that are filed.

However, the Cayman Islands is likely to add more than 2,500 new voters to the district lists since the last general election in May 2013.

Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell, standing, talks with a registered voter Monday evening at the elections office on Smith Road. – PHOTO: BRENT FULLER

A small but steady stream of voters reported to the elections office headquarters after work hours Monday.

The voting registration deadline was extended by two weeks from the original Dec. 31 date, and the elections office was open Saturday during the day, as well as Monday night until midnight to allow first-time voters as much leeway as possible. These efforts were made after elections office representatives went door-to-door in each district to count registered and eligible voters.

“We’ve done everything we can to get them to register,” Mr. Howell said last week.

The May 2017 election will be the first time Cayman residents will vote under the “one man, one vote” regime, with electors choosing one candidate in each constituency.

The preliminary numbers for each constituency showed some surprising results for voter registration in that the two largest single-member district voting populations are in Bodden Town, and only one of the top five is in George Town.

The numbers gathered by the elections office, which were counted through Thursday, Jan. 12, are likely to change as the final counts come in.

The new single-member districts of Bodden Town East and Bodden Town West reported more than 1,400 voters registered in each through Jan. 12. Meanwhile, the constituencies of Savannah and Newlands, also in Bodden Town, placed fourth and sixth in the registered voter count at that date with 1,310 and 1,226, respectively.

The new single-member district of West Bay South registered 1,318 voters, making it the third largest single-member constituency on the map thus far.

Only one George Town district, George Town Central, made the top five, in regard to population, with 1,235 registered voters.

East End (670 voters) and North Side (678 voters) are slightly larger constituencies than the newly divided Cayman Brac and Little Cayman constituencies, which had fewer than 600 voters each.

East End and North Side’s combined registered voters number fewer than either Bodden Town East or Bodden Town West, both of which have more than 1,400 people registered.

Far more women have registered to vote than men. According to the elections office, more than 11,000 women had registered, while just fewer than 9,800 men had.

Despite the increase in overall voter numbers, Mr. Howell estimated that at least 4,000 Caymanians who are eligible to vote have not signed up.

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