The attempts to regularise the voter’s list here continues, with the latest figures showing that the number of registered voters — 104,853 — remains as high as the nation’s estimated population:
Supervisor of Elections, Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb, earlier this year began consultation with the two main political parties — the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) and the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) — to try to remove from the list the names of persons who no longer qualify to vote.
Sen. Julian Francis, general-secretary of the ULP, giving an update on the process on his weekly radio programme on Tuesday, said that as of Nov. 19, there are 104,853 registered voters in this country.
“And we all know this is high. We all know there are names on that voter’s list that don’t vote, that don’t exist to vote, are not eligible to vote, and the main reason, I believe, why there is such a surplus, is the matter of immigration,” he said.
Francis noted that there is continuous registration and a person’s name cannot be taken off the voter’s list unless there is proof that they are dead or has been living overseas continuously for five years.
He said that while it is easy to prove, through a death certificate, that a voter has died in SVG, it is more difficult to get that information if the voter dies overseas.
He, however, said that the real challenge are those persons who leave SVG and do not return until after up to a decade.
Francis said that he believes that the names of many such persons are on the voter’s list.
He said that earlier this year, the Supervisor of Elections said that in an effort to make the process easier, she had divided the voter’s list into two groups: persons who have the old and new ID cards, respectively.
“Now, the law says that nobody’s name can be taken off the voter’s list. But these two lists are prepared just to assist us in getting it cleared up.”
As of Nov. 19, the number of persons with the new — and valid — ID cards, which the country began issuing a few years ago, was 63,582.
“And just as a matter of interest, the number of persons who voted in the last election is 62, 663,” Francis noted.
“And that should give you some [indication]. It is not a scientific fact, but if we check back over the last two or three elections, you would see that the number of persons who voted will fall within that numerical figure – 59 [thousand] to 63,000.
He further said that 41,000 persons are on the voter’s list do not have the new ID cards.
“So, there are still a lot of persons out there that we have to get cleaned up. And I want to ask the public to assist us in this regard,” Francis said.
“If you know there is a family member who has gone overseas and has been overseas more than five … years and you check the voter’s list and their names are still on it, produce the information to the Supervisor of Elections; assist her. Then, they will so their internal checks and they will do what they have to do to get this regularised,” Francis said.
“… we need to clean it up and we do it with the two political parties involved. I don’t want anybody crying foul. I don’t want anybody say the Unity Labour Party rig the election. It can’t be rigged. The supervisor of Elections has responsibility for that and they have their internal records that they keep and they produce the voter’s lost and both of us, both political parties have to accept that,” said Francis, who is also the ULP’s campaign manager.
“So we have to work along with them — the leaders of the ULP, the leaders of the NDP, and other upcoming political parties. The numbers there are insignificant but it is neither here nor there but we still encourage them to join in the fight, in the work, to get this matter clarified and help to Supervisor of Election to give us a reasonable and acceptable list,” he further stated.
Francis said that the Supervisor of Election will undertake the current exercise until July 2014.
“Naturally, if an election is called [before then], the 105,000 persons’ names will be on the list. You can’t take anybody’s name off the list because they have the old ID card. They are already registered,” he said.
General elections are constitutionally due by December 2015.