More than 23,600 voters, subject to claims and objections, will be eligible to cast their votes in the 2021 general election according to the latest update by the Elections Office.
Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell said, based on current numbers, the Official Register of Electors has grown by more than 2,400 compared to the 2017 general election.
An additional 1,406 voters registered between the release of the 1 Jan. list and the final 20 Jan. deadline. The updated list of names was published Wednesday.
“The take-up of new persons registering to vote was quite significant. All electoral districts with the exception of Cayman Brac East saw an increase. Cayman Brac East actually saw a decrease of about 6 [people],” Howell told the Cayman Compass Tuesday.
He also said he was “excited” that a “number of persons and a significant number of young persons actually registered to vote”.
The Revised List of Electors, which was published by the Elections Office on Wednesday, puts the total number of registered voters at 23,647.
That list is open for the public to review and submit claims and objections for the 21 days following its publication.
This means that the final list of people eligible to vote on 26 May will be set in April, with the official total made public then.
Should the official list remain as-is, there would be 2,421 more registered voters in 2021 than the 21,226 registered for the 2017 general election, an 11.4% increase.
Newlands saw the highest increase in registered voters of 18.4% compared to April 2017, with Cayman Brac East’s Revised Register of Electors dropping by 1.2% over the same period.
Submission of claims and objections period ends – Thursday, 25 Feb. 2021.
Claims and objections list published – Thursday, 4 March 2021
Available for review – Until Friday, 19 March 2021.
Hearings of claims and objections by the Revising Officer (Chief Magistrate) – 22-26 March 2021.
Howell said he was not “overly surprised” to see the voters’ list grow the way it did as every constituency recorded an increase between the 1 Jan. list and Wednesday’s revised list.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of community interest in politics and the way that the Parliament works and what representatives are doing for their constituents in their country,” he said.
Howell added that he believes the recent US elections also motivated people to sign up.
“I think the results of the recent votes in North America… in the US in particular, showed that voter turnout can make a significant difference [in] who actually wins and who doesn’t,” he said.
Howell pointed out there has been “lots of interest” generated from a number of sources, such as community groups and potential candidates “knocking on doors and bringing in forms for folks who would want to register”.
The Elections Office has also used social media campaigns and Google ads to reach younger voters. Families are getting together to have all of the young adults come in and register, Howell said.
“The [younger generation] tend not to listen to regular radio, they’re streaming their music. They’re playing their games online,” Howell said. “They don’t watch television and they don’t read a printed paper. So we were trying all of the different mechanisms to push those electronic messages to them and we had really good success.”
Claims and objections
The revised list is still subject to modifications so it is not the official register that will be used for the 2021 election.
Claims and objections to the revised list are allowed under the law.
“An individual may choose to submit a claim if their name appears on the current register, or if they registered to vote on or before 20 January 2021, and their name has been wrongly removed or stated incorrectly in the revised list. The claim should be submitted in writing using Form 7 (available at elections.ky under the Forms section) to their Electoral District’s Registering Officer,” a statement from the Elections Office said Wednesday.
This objection should include the grounds for the objection using Form 9 (also available at elections.ky under the Forms section) to the Registering Officer of the Electoral District, the statement said.
Under the law, any registered voter may object to a name appearing on the revised list “if there is a reasonable belief that the person is not entitled to be registered in that Electoral District”.
Claims and objections must be submitted by Thursday, 25 Feb. They will then be published on Thursday, 4 March and available for review until Friday, 19 March.
Hearings of claims and objections by the Revising Officer (Chief Magistrate) will be held from Monday to Friday, 22-26 March.
On the conclusion of these hearings, the rulings of the Revising Officer will be applied to the Revised List to form the Official List of Electors. This list will come into effect on 1 April for the 26 May general election.
“During the December 2020 claims and objections hearings, the Revising Officer took into consideration COVID-19 related travel difficulties as well as the precedence set by the Grand Court in relation to extended absences from the islands,” the statement added.
Those who receive an objection, particularly related to a person’s absence from the Cayman Islands for more than two years out of the last four years immediately preceding 20 January 2021, are encouraged to submit claims using Form 7 outlining their reason for this.
Contact information for each district’s Registering Officer is available at elections.ky under the Voter Registration section.
Should a Registering Officer object to an individual appearing on list, a copy of the notice will be delivered to the individual or sent by registered mail to their last known postal address.
The Elections Office added, in its statement, that the next deadline to register to vote is 1 April 2021.
“Those who register on or before this date will be added to the Register of Electors that becomes official on 1 July 2021. These persons registering after midnight on 20 January 2021 will not be able to vote in the May 2021 General Election.”