Potential voters upset over poll date

Kasey Glidden signing her registration form at the Elections Office last Tuesday, the deadline to get on to the 1 Jan. electors list. - Photo: Reshma Ragoonath

“I am disappointed.”

So said newly registered voter Kasey Glidden as she expressed frustration on Monday over government’s decision to name 19 Dec. as Referendum Day.

The Cayman Compass featured Glidden last week as she registered to vote specifically to have her say on government’s planned $200 million cruise-berthing and cargo port project.

“That was the reason that I went on Tuesday (1 Oct.) as early as I did, so that I could get in for the referendum, and now I cannot vote. So, it was a wasted trip,” she told the Compass.

Glidden was among several voters who turned up at the Elections Office on 1 Oct. to beat the registration deadline so they could be added to the new electors list, which becomes official on 1 Jan.

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Those on that list would have been able to vote if the referendum had been called in January. From 1 July to 1 Oct., a total of 207 people signed up to be added to that list.

However, with the date set for 19 Dec., only the 21,217 voters on the 1 Oct. official list will be eligible to vote.

Glidden said she was hoping the referendum would have been held in January.

“I think they should have considered us, because it had been advertised that Tuesday was the last day and they [Elections Office] said, ‘Please register by that date so you can vote.’ There were several people I know who registered to vote in order to vote in the referendum and now they cannot,” she said.

Another newly registered voter, Jackie Myles, shared the same view.

“With the Referendum Bill proposing December 19th for the vote, I will not be able to participate as it stands now,” she said.

She said she felt it was important for her to register. She said she wanted Governor Martyn Roper to consider their plight.

“The importance of this referendum is monumental for Cayman and, as a citizen, it is important to me to participate in this process as I will certainly have to live with the outcome. Expediting the processing and completion of registrations so that myself and others could vote on 19 Dec., it would be appreciated and can make the difference in the future of myself and my family,” she told the Compass.

As for Glidden, she said, it is a lesson learned, “that we should always be registered”.

She added, “I lived here for 16 years and just got my status, so I went to get it done. For those that are here and have had the ability to vote for a long time, [registering to vote] is something that should be done as soon as you can and if you are Caymanian and eligible to vote, you should get on it.”

As for those who can vote, Glidden said, “I just hope that people who are registered will get out and vote.”

Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell declined to comment.

Premier Alden McLaughlin touched briefly on the issue in an interview with the Compass last week, saying the prospect of a referendum had been on the radar for some time.

“Anyone who wanted to prepare to vote had a year in which to register and do all those things,” he said.

Meanwhile, George Town Central MLA Kenneth Bryan has written to Howell requesting that representations be made to Cabinet to allow the names of newly registered voters to be added to the register of electors list so they can vote on Referendum Day.

The publication dates for the Official Register of Electors are set out in detail in the Elections Law.

There is no legal provision or discretion for the Official Register of Electors publication dates to be changed.

The official list is signed off by the revising officer, who is the chief magistrate; the governor does not sign off on the list.

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  1. Found on page 8 of the Elections Law (2017 Revision):

    “registration date” means the first day of January, April, July or October, as the case may be, next occurring after the coming into force of the last previous Register of Electors or such other date as the Governor may, by Notice published in the Gazette, appoint;