Basseterre, 24th May, 2020, (MyVueNews.com) – The momentum to get prepared for the upcoming elections is accelerating, as the staffing process takes shape for each constituency where votes will be cast.
The poll on 5th June,2020 will see almost 130 Polling Stations across St. Kitts and Nevis, in the 11 constituencies, to accommodate over 45,000 voters, according the country’s Supervisor of Elections, Elvin Bailey.
He said the exact location for each station will soon be announced, but in the meantime, urged voters to be proactive and to check to verify if their names are on the lists and that they know in advance where their polling stations will be located.
“The Register of Voters for this election, consists of the persons who were registered to vote, as of March, 31st, 2020. This is in accordance with Section 51, Sub-sections 1 & 2, of the National Assembly Elections Act, which indicates that the Register of Voters should include the last publishable revised monthly list,” outlined the Supervisor of Elections.
“The date of the poll being June 5th, means that registrants for March, having past the public scrutiny and is publishable between 15th-31st May, are the last set of registrants that would be added to the register and thus become eligible to vote,”explained the Supervisor.
To put it simply, it means that the final list of qualified voters will be comprised only of those persons who were on the annual register up to December 31st, 2019 and those who registered between 1st January- 31st March, 2020.
The locations with the names for the over 130 Polling Stations will soon be posted at the Electoral Offices in Basseterre and Charlestown, in the newspapers, and at conspicuous public places and at at each polling station.
On Election Day, each station will be kept at a maximum of 450 voters, for the ease of electors, and polls will open at 7:00am and close at 6:00pm. Everyone in the line, up to 6:00pm, will be allowed to vote, but anyone who arrives after 6:00pm, will NOT.
The staff in each constituency will be headed by a Returning Officer. As head of the Poll staff, the Returning Officer’s main task is to receive the nomination of candidates and to count the votes casts for each candidate.
They are expected to move around to each location where voting is taking place, to ensure that the work of the Presiding Officers and other staff, is being conducted in accordance with all legal requirements.
That Returning Officer will have supporting staff at each Polling Station, comprised of three persons.
These will be a Presiding Officer and two Poll Clerks. The Presiding Officer acts, more or less, as the manager of that division, where they are assigned.
This includes the issuing of the ballot paper, receiving ballots and ensuring order.
They are also required to regulate the number of persons to be admitted at any given time and shall exclude all other persons except the Supervisor of Elections, the Returning Officer of the constituency, the Polling Clerks, the candidate, one agent from each candidate, appointed by the candidate, (in accordance with Section 72 of the Elections Act), and the assigned police officers on duty.
Also allowed in the Polling Station, are members of recognized Observer Missions. This year, it will only be a team from from the Christian Council, Evangelical Association and Chamber of Industry & Commerce.
No foreign observers are possible this year, due to the closure of borders and quarantine regulations, associated with the Coronavirus.
At the polling locations, the Poll Clerk is to serve as the officer to to record the names of the voters in the poll book, in consecutive manner, as they vote on Election Day.
This year, each Station will have an extra Poll Clerk whose job is to identify and give preference to the fragile elderly, the differently able and persons who identify and can prove that they have preexisting (health) conditions.
All officers are required to undertake their assigned tasks without partiality, fear or favour. Another new feature is that electoral staff will be clearly identifiable by the vest they would be wearing.
On Friday, 22nd May, 2020, the full list of Returning Officers was announced, ahead of this Wednesday’s Nomination Day, (27th May).
Supervisor of Elections, Elvin Bailey said that he is confident that the Returning Officers will execute their jobs professionally. He identified them as listed below:
Constituency 1-Jermaine Lake
Constituency 2-Sharon Hanley
Constituency 3-Melvon Bussue
Constituency 4-Miguel Thomas
Constituency 5-Dr. Vincent Hodge
Constituency 6-Edwin Warner
Constituency 7-Dr. Patrick Welcome
Constituency 8-Phillip Browne
Constituency 9-Kevin Barrett
Constituency 10-Rohan Claxton
Photo: Citizens lining up outside the Electoral Office in Basseterre, to secure their Voter IDs, to register and make enquiries