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Tales from Tortola Pt VII - Engaging with the Electorate

Thomas C Famous. Photo: VINO/File
Engaging with the people face-to-face in their homes and or in the street. Photo: Provided
Engaging with the people face-to-face in their homes and or in the street. Photo: Provided
It should be made crystal-clear that door to door canvassing and phone banking, is essentially a mammoth task that both parties commit countless time and resources to. Photo: Provided
It should be made crystal-clear that door to door canvassing and phone banking, is essentially a mammoth task that both parties commit countless time and resources to. Photo: Provided
Thomas C. Famous

With an upcoming General Election in the Virgin Islands, it gave me cause to reflect on our own elections in Bermuda. I have been directly involved in the canvassing side of every General Election and By-Election in Bermuda since 2012.

Canvassing requires us to get out and walk up and down this island in the sun, wind and rain. We do this in order to engage with the people face-to-face in their homes and or in the street. After speaking with them, we ask if they would like to share with us their numbers and emails. In 99 percent of the cases, they happily share the following information with us:

•             Home numbers

•             Cell phone numbers

•             Email address(es)

This information is then entered into our database and there it remains forever until we delete the numbers needed. Simply put, that is how political parties gather and retain contact info, in order to be able to stay in touch with the electorate.

Never ending work

It should be made crystal-clear that door to door canvassing and phone banking, is essentially a mammoth task that both parties commit countless time and resources to. Here is a breakdown of statistics from an electoral standpoint:

•             As of May 2018, there are 46,170 registered voters spread throughout Bermuda

•             On average, most of the 36 constituencies have 1250 registered voters

•             Roughly 4 constituencies have nearly 1450 registered voters

•             Each constituency has on average, 400 households to be visited

               Here are some further realities:

•             Each of the 46,170 registered voters deserves to be visited by those who seek to represent them

•             Not one of the 36 MPs are able to visit 1250-1450 persons annually on their own, as logistically it is a challenge                 for one person to do this all by themselves

•             Each MP/ constituency needs a team of phone bankers, canvassers, persons to work in polling stations, persons                 to serve food and drivers to pick up voters needing a ride to the polling stations.

 VI Decision Day

With an upcoming General Election in the Virgin Islands, I suspect that those wishing to be successful will be out knocking door to door, or finding some other way to have one on one interaction, with their respective voters.

It is all well and fine to have mass rallies and or to take to Radio, TV and or social media.

However, the reality is voters, region wide, are demanding more accountability from politicians both before and after those ballots are cast. Without a doubt they deserve as much.

 

 

3 Responses to “Tales from Tortola Pt VII - Engaging with the Electorate”

  • 123 (19/06/2018, 10:39) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    good read
  • Tafari Zharr (19/06/2018, 13:49) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let’s not imply that there are no evils of taking data; Americans now known “census” taking is politicized and socialized and has lent to gerrymandering and inflated voter suppression; perhaps lessons learned or upside of collecting data could imperil an already flawed process that questions policy and players alike; innocently data collection follows into the hands of those persons seeking greed and power and technology handcuffs the powerless and the pious through modern day piracy - so much for pioneers with insightful political rhetoric but this is how the story starts!
  • E. Leonard (19/06/2018, 15:22) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    “With an upcoming General Election in the Virgin Islands, I suspect that those wishing to be successful will be out knocking door to door, or finding some other way to have one on one interaction, with their respective voters.” Great advice but it must occur 365/24/7, not just during election time. For political success, retail politics is a must, not an option. VI political districts are small enough for political aspirants to engage constituents up close and one on one. Too many political aspirants go into hibernation after lack of success at the polls. Politics is neither a 9-5 job nor a once every 4-year event. As noted earlier, it is a 365/24/7 commitment. Once you commit to get in you got to be all in. The people’s must always trump self interest. Hon Famous, excellent read.


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