Supervisor of Elections Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb has a proposal to deal with the inflated voters’ list, which, at 105,919, has just 3,269 electors fewer than the population in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2012.
The proposal: That the names of those persons who registered as voters before Jan. 1 2014 and who have not updated their registration over the 10-year intervening period be deleted from the voters’ list due to be published on Oct. 14, 2014 or the voter’s list to be published by the Jan. 15, 2015.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves reported Findlay-Scrubb’s proposal to Parliament on Tuesday.
“In other words, what she is asking is that as of Jan. 1, 2004, everyone who has been registered before that period of time, we delete them from the voters’ list.
“But, to do that, we are going to require an amendment to the Representation of the People Act in Parliament.
“We may disagree on Jan. 1, 2004, we may say Jan 1st, 2001, but at least we will get persons who have been away for so long and who are not here, that we can keep the voters’ list largely for persons who are here,” Gonsalves said.
The proposal comes as the latest voter’s list, published on July 14, reflected 105,919 eligible registered voters.
Of this number 68,624 either updated their voter registration or were registered for the first time between July 12, 2009 and July 11, 2014.
Gonsalves told Parliament the names of deceased persons are deleted from the voters’ list regularly, but this has not made any serious dent on the size of the list.
“Clearly, from the number I have given, the majority of the 37,297, remaining eligible register voters on the latest publication of the voters’ list are persons who have migrated.
“However, in the absence of evidence to substantiate any claim that these persons have been out of the state for over 5 years, the Supervisor of Elections is powerless to delete the names of these persons from the voters’ list,” he said.
Gonsalves, however, said this doesn’t mean that with a voters’ list with these persons on the list, that if elections were called within 30 days, that the voters’ list will not be one in which you can have a free and fair elections.
“Because, really, the number of those persons who are coming home to vote at election time is a miniscule number. But it would be much better if we have a voters’ list which accords to a number close to the 68,624 persons who have the new identification card,” he said.
Regarding the Supervisor of Election’s proposal, Gonsalves said an announcement can be made, and a period of time given.
“I find, personally, the proposal to be an attractive one and I believe it is a matter which both political parties in parliament and the Supervisor of Election should sit down to discuss, and if we agree on that, we come here with it,” he said.
“I don’t want to come here with a proposal by the Supervisor of Elections, though it makes eminent sense to me, where I am going to invest political capital in it unnecessary.
“Because, let me repeat, even if the voters’ list is 105,919, you can’t vote unless you are identified on the day as being the person,” he said.