An estimated 5 percent of Cayman’s registered voters have already cast ballots for Wednesday’s general election, although it will not be known how they voted until election night.
Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell said Friday that some 719 mobile voters had cast ballots in 18 of the 19 single-member constituencies. One of the four West Bay voting districts was not included in that total, but mobile polling was going on there as well, Mr. Howell said.
Mobile polling is conducted by the Elections Office for electors who cannot make it to the voter’s booth on May 24 because of illness or physical disability.
Mr. Howell said the largest number of mobile voters (223) were in George Town’s seven constituencies, but the greatest turnout among registered mobile voters as of Friday was in Little Cayman. “Twenty-seven of 28 voters – 95 percent turnout!” Mr. Howell said. Little Cayman is part of the constituency of Cayman Brac West in the upcoming election.
The Elections Office also mailed 582 postal ballots to Caymanians living overseas who are still eligible to vote. Mr. Howell said last week that is the largest total of postal ballots ever mailed for a general election.
How many of those votes will be counted will not be known until election night. The postal ballots are mailed back to the registering officers (the people in charge of counting the votes) for each district. The last run to the post office for those ballots usually occurs around 4 p.m. Wednesday, about two hours before the polls close. If a voter does not mail in their ballot by that time, it will not be counted.
Also, if documentation proving the individual’s right to vote in Cayman is not included or is incomplete, the ballot cannot be counted. An incorrectly marked ballot can also be discarded, as is the usual voting practice at the ballot box as well.
Typically, the postal ballots are counted first since they take the longest time to evaluate. The vote count begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, about an hour after the polls close.
Mr. Howell said the good response to mobile and postal voting opportunities likely foreshadows a solid voter turnout in this year’s election.
He estimated last week that somewhere between 75 percent and 80 percent of registered voters would turn out for the election in total, in line with what Cayman generally averages each election.
Cayman had 21,228 registered voters as of April 11. An 80 percent turnout would mean just fewer than 17,000 people casting ballots.