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Some voters disenfranchised due to early elections call- Elections Supervisor

- said early elections call also prevented completion of voter's registration cards
Speaking to Acting Chief Information Officer Desiree Smith on a Government Information Service (GIS) programme on May 13, 2015, Supervisor of Elections Juliette Penn said the Elections Office was hoping to have voter’s identification cards for this election but because of the time frame in which the election was called it was not able to produce the quantity of cards that would be needed. Photo: VINO
The early elections date called by Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith has not only caught many persons aspiring to run for political office off guard but has even disenfranchised some persons eligible to vote. Added to that, the Elections Office was also affected by the sudden announcement as it was unable to complete the processing of voter’s identification cards. Photo: VINO
The early elections date called by Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith has not only caught many persons aspiring to run for political office off guard but has even disenfranchised some persons eligible to vote. Added to that, the Elections Office was also affected by the sudden announcement as it was unable to complete the processing of voter’s identification cards. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The early elections date called by Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith has not only caught many persons aspiring to run for political office off guard but has even disenfranchised some persons eligible to vote. Added to that, the Elections Office was also affected by the sudden announcement as it was unable to complete the processing of voter’s identification cards.

Speaking to Acting Chief Information Officer Desiree Smith on a Government Information Service (GIS) programme on May 13, 2015, Supervisor of Elections Juliette Penn said the Elections Office was hoping to have voter’s identification cards for this election but because of the time frame in which the election was called it was not able to produce the quantity of cards that would be needed.

“What we have been doing is we have been collecting the information. So we have information to just begin to run the cards but we don’t have the quantity yet to go ahead and because the elections were held when it were held we were hoping that elections would have been later and we would have gotten more time to get all the things that we need to do in order to process the cards but we were unable to do that,” stated Mrs Penn who had also said that it is the Premier who has the authority to call elections after consultation with the Governor and the Elections Office, which also has to advise on its readiness.

Identification for polling day

While not having the voter’s registration [identification] cards, however, Mrs Penn advised eligible voters to go to the polls on June 8, 2015 with any form of identification such as a passport, driver’s license, Belonger’s card, or any other identification that contains a photo of the eligible voter.

It is to be noted, however, that persons without such Id should not be disenfranchised.

“If a person do not have an Id they would not be disenfranchised from voting…We would use the same manner we have used all these years where you would have to say your name, address, and occupation but if you have an Id that would be ideal,” Mrs Penn stated.

Following the dissolution of the House of Assembly on May 1, 2015, eligible voters were given four days to get registered, and this ended on May 5, 2015 and a further four days to make any claims or objections to the Preliminary Voters List.

Some eligible voters caught off guard!

Asked what provisions are there for persons who missed the deadline for registration since it is early elections, Mrs Penn said, “That’s it. There is nothing else that can be done presently,” but reminded that there is always continuous registration and that a Voters List is produced every year on September 30.

This is where persons are given the “same opportunity to inspect the Preliminary [Voter’s] List, to make changes, so you don’t end up in this, what we ended up in, or some people ended up in, because some people would be disenfranchised because at the last minute you came in and your documents were not in order [and] we don’t have any way of getting into contact with you, so there is no other option right now, if you come into the office and register right now it goes to the next election,” Mrs Penn said.

The elections supervisor did mention, however, that two days after the dissolution of the House of Assembly “there were two days to complete final registration and for that two days we had approximately 1200 persons who came in to the office either to be registered or transferred.”

Asked by Ms Smith how the one month time frame given to fully prepare for General Election affected them, Mrs Penn said the announcement put her staff in high gear. “I think the biggest hurdle we had was the two days of registration and getting the Preliminary [Voter’s] List out in time and that was accomplished in four days. We are ready.”

The Supervisor of Elections is responsible for the general direction and supervision of the registration of voters, the administration aspect of the elections, and making sure that all election officers are fair and partial and comply with the provisions of the Elections Act.

18 Responses to “Some voters disenfranchised due to early elections call- Elections Supervisor”

  • vex (20/05/2015, 17:32) Like (48) Dislike (12) Reply
    Thats another reason why ndp must go!
  • blame (20/05/2015, 18:00) Like (19) Dislike (12) Reply
    u to blame its your job to appeal to the public to register
  • just asking. (20/05/2015, 18:25) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hummmm...
  • wow (20/05/2015, 18:40) Like (22) Dislike (65) Reply
    You had 3 and 1/2 years to do this .. now you coming here crying foul???/ Shame on you!!!!
  • the lady (20/05/2015, 19:24) Like (44) Dislike (6) Reply
    This is an honest honorable and truthful lady.
  • Late folks (20/05/2015, 19:54) Like (7) Dislike (142) Reply
    People wait the last minute to do crap! All this time and you mean to tell me some persons still dont have their ducks in a row???????? Yall need to stop sleeping and take this thing seriously.....from the time you become eligible to vote you should have already jump on it man.....stupes!!! Some of yall are just a shame in this place....
  • I`m voting (20/05/2015, 22:07) Like (9) Dislike (4) Reply
    I am living in the 7th, my mind already made up. I am going for Olivine, Dr. Smith, Myron, Dr. Dawson. Sha De Castro.... my biggest concerns are 1/ the Hospital and--2/ the pension plan.. Nurses need to be treated better-and the service need improving------Pension plan need to be Mandatory,(after 6 months on the job) I work in the private industry, I need to get something back in my old age.. . those are my deciding factors. ( Govt. workers are secured with their pension, we in the private industry need that same kind of security)
    • Vi girl (21/05/2015, 01:30) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
      Yuh no hear don't split no votes. Anyway you need to know pension is now mandatory.
      • I`m voting (21/05/2015, 07:46) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
        Vi girl--Thanks for the info---how do I get pension because I still don`t have? you said its now mandatory.---sorry vi girl, I have to split my vote, I have to give that 24 yr old lady a vote at all cost...she is the capable future
  • dem say (21/05/2015, 00:30) Like (2) Dislike (61) Reply

    Needs to go the hell home and give young people a chance!

  • voter (21/05/2015, 05:14) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
    Maybe it is time to change the Sopervisor of Election and train a younger person who is not retired for the job. We continue to talk about unemployment, yet we give the long lasting jobs to retires. Train the youth and put them to work.
    • Scary Mary (21/05/2015, 06:57) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
      I truly wish we could run parallel jobs so that some of you spouting off about what the youth can do can give it a try and then see for yourselves what the results would be. I think you would be very surprised - and not in a good way.
    • TRUTH TELLER (21/05/2015, 12:13) Like (57) Dislike (0) Reply
      VOTER: You seem to lack comprehension skills. What the Supervisor said is to the point. If the system was different, we would not have this problem. Imagine if you just turned 18, studying abroad, and in the midst of final exams, how would you feel?

      Voter, what you say makes no sense. As a matter of fact, by suggesting that the Elections Supervisor (should go home/ be retired/ be removed)... and train a younger person, you are guilty of age discrimination. Do you have any idea of what democracy is? Do you have a mother, father, grandmother? Are you planning on an early death? Do you know about the contributions those you call old can make?

      Disrespect is an obvious lack of a sound education in life or in the educational system. Not very attractive!! You can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. Consider how this might apply to you, please.
      I am assuming that you are young person, therefore, if you are representative of the youths of this country, I am scared s…t of what might happen in the near future.

      I hope that you and many other youths try to get a good education before assuming any leadership position not only in the public sphere but also as parents). I don’t mean just getting a diploma, certificate, or college degree.
      It is foolhardy to advocate that someone who might be 40, or 50 years or older get out of the labor market. Do you know what the demography of the BVI is?
      Yeah, throw the folks who are already here out of the job market and then import people from abroad to replace them. Brilliant, Logical!!

      Your grandmother will tell you that COMMON-SENSE IS NOT SO COMMON TODAY.

      The old folks used to say THERE IS BOOK SENSE AND THERE IS COMMON SENSE. I am wondering WHICH SENSE HAVE YOU?
  • give jack his jacket (21/05/2015, 07:18) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    there were several public service announcement encouraging people to go and register so no excuse i cannot vote but i told my children to register not to wait till last minute and they did.
  • nonsense (21/05/2015, 08:35) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    That office has one function every four years. you must be kidding to tell us that you cant get the job done.
  • @truth teller (21/05/2015, 15:22) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    You have me falling off my chair laughing. but you nailed it.
    • TRUTH TELLER (THE ORIGINAL TRUTH TELLER) (21/05/2015, 23:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Laughter is good for the soul. You got to either laugh, go crazy,or whack these blooming people upside 'd head!

      Laughing can add two years to your life, so VOTER and company can put you out to pasture.

      "LAUGHTER IS GOOD FOR DEMOCRACY"!!

      Not too long ago,in the USA they used to give the folks (you know who) a literacy test. If IA friend says did not believe in democracy and justice, I would recommend a simple test Logical Deduction and leave the literacy test alone!

      Our youths definitely need a sound education. I am convinced in life, in morals and manners.Back to basics.
  • View point (22/05/2015, 11:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    It sounds very inappropriate for the Supervisor of Election to be making the types of comments being made about the current Government which she is a part of. My comment is not personal but is being made in line with General Orders, which is one of the major rules of law for the Public Service. If I listened to the Premier good, he read where the Constitution outlined the given timeframe wherein Election can be held. I even heard him share that there was a time when Election was called after 2 1/2 years. There is a word known as "Preparation" and a term known as "advanced planning". It is said 'if you don't plan, you plan to fail'. Many of us have heard of the parable of the five wise virgins and the five foolish. Many scriptures are being quoted these days. This one might not seem to be very convenient to some right now but if you read this parable you would learn that the virgins who did not walk with additional oil, went to those who had extra and asked for some. The answer came back saying '...go and buy lest we do not have enough for you and us'.


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