Civic and Voter Education Officer at the Electoral Department, Alymphia Lionel stated that based on recent amendments to the Elections Act passed by the House of Assembly and Senate on 3rd May and 10th respectively, advanced polling will be conducted at various homes for the elderly and hospitals around the island.
Statutory Instrument no. 13 of 2016, amendment of section 46, 11 subsection (a) (b) no. 2, reads “Where a hospital, care facility or other similar institution exists in a polling division, the returning officer shall establish an advance polling station to take an advance poll in such institution”
Lionel said in preparation for the elections the Electoral Department visited most of the care institution on island to ensure clients of the homes were properly registered.
“We allowed those persons at the homes or care institutions, we changed their address at the institutions. So we would alleviate the stress of persons carrying, people all over the place. So we will have a station at the homes. For the hospitals persons are saying that during this time they never get a chance to cast their ballot, so we’re going to accommodate everybody this time. So we are going to have a polling station at each of these institutions.”
Lionel indicated that Victoria Hospital will be one such institution where advance polling will be conducted onFriday 3rd June 2016, however only certain persons will qualify to cast their ballots at this polling station.
“And who would be able to cast their ballot at this polling station would be: all the patients that are able to do so, those that are bedridden we would have to take the service to them at the hospital and the same goes to the St. Lucy’s Home, Comfort Bay, St. Jude Hospital etc. So we are going to have a polling station at each and every institution and the persons would get a chance to cast their ballot.”
The Civic and Voter Education Officer added that the Electoral Department met with the management of the various institutions to ensure that all is in place for the smooth execution of advance polling at their institutions. She pointed out that staff of the institutions are not allowed to partake in the advance polling process which is reserved exclusively for clients and patients of the institutions.
She added that the voters lists for all 17 constituencies will be placed at those institutions to facilitate the voting process.
“Even for those at Comfort Bay and the other care facilities where persons did not have time to change their address, we also have the voters list being placed there for all 17 constituencies. So that persons would be able to vote for the candidate from their constituency.”
Lionel asserted that the voting process will be fully transparent and in keeping with normal procedures for voting. She said, “What would happen to at the hospital, if the person doesn’t have their ID Card they would still be allowed to vote because we have a master copy with people’s photos at the centres. So if the person wants to cast their ballots and they do not have their ID Card during the time that we are there, once we can identify the person the person will be allowed to cast their ballot at the hospital.”
She added that also new to this year’s election is the inclusion of Poll Workers in the advanced voting schedule facilitated by the Electoral Department.
Advanced polling will also be conducted on June 3rd for Fire Service Personnel, Police Officers and for the the first time Correctional Officers at designated polling stations around the island.