For newly registered voters like Kacey Glidden and Jackie Myles, the court’s delaying of the 19 Dec. referendum on the cruise berthing and cargo port project is welcome news.
“I am glad that initiative [to challenge the referendum] was taken so that everybody’s vote will count. I did not expect it and I was very pleasantly surprised when I found out,” Glidden said.
“The delayed referendum date enables the opportunity for many newly registered voters to take part in a critical decision for the future of the country,“ Myles told the Cayman Compass. However, their eligibility to vote when, or if, the new referendum is called still hinges on the court’s decision.
It’s a point Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell highlighted when asked by the Cayman Compass if the 220 additional voters who registered before the 1 Oct. deadline will be eligible to vote in the new referendum.
“This, too, depends on the judgment on the legal matters that are before the courts,” Howell said in his emailed response.
Those voters were excluded from the 19 Dec. vote on government’s $200 million port project as they would only have become eligible to vote based on the 1 Jan. electors list.
But with the vote delayed until the completion of the judicial review proceedings brought by Cruise Port Referendum Cayman’s Shirley Roulstone, there could be a window of opportunity for the updated January list to be used. For Richard McMillan, that chance to have a say on the project is a happy result for his daughters Abbie and Amber, both of whom registered before the 1 Oct. deadline.
“One did it in the summer while she was back from university and the other turned 18 in September and she had seven days to register and she did. I was delighted to see the next generation interested in the getting involved and they will be able to vote on this important issue,” he said.
He lamented that it seemed the 19 Dec. date was a “fairly deliberate attempt to exclude 220 voters from the process”.
This point was previously refuted by Premier Alden McLaughlin, who had said the intention was always to have the vote held as soon as practicable.
McMillan said he is hopeful the court allows all registered voters to have their say by means of the most updated electors roll.
“It seems a bit nonsensical to have the referendum after January and not use the list after January 1. Surely, the idea is you want more people to participate,” he said.
Myles said while she is thrilled to have the opportunity to participate, she hopes constitutional guidelines concerning the 50% plus one threshold are examined.
“My hope is that this will be addressed and rectified before the next vote so that the question is clear and the measure is the majority of the voter turnout as would be expected in any other vote. I have no doubt that the momentum and passion to protect our island and hold government accountable for transparent dealings will continue whenever the call to vote comes,” Myles added.
The Elections Office issued a reminder Thursday that the next deadline to register to vote is 2 Jan. Those who register by this date will be included in the Register of Electors and eligible to vote from 1 April 2020 onwards.