NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday that he has received no reports of people having challenges with being able to register to vote.
Dames was responding to claims by Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis that new voters and people seeking transfer of addresses have been having challenges with registration.
The minister responsible for elections, however, assured that the voters’ registration process at the Parliamentary Registration Department is ongoing.
Dames noted that due to the establishment of a permanent register, the department no longer has to register nearly 200,000 voters.
“We should be rolling out an extended registration process very shortly,” he said.
“We will have more than enough time to register approximately 20,000 people and the process is ongoing.”
He said the registration process will be a COVID-proof plan to ensure people are able to register in a very safe environment and put focus on the elderly and those with comorbidities.
The national security minister said those 20,000 registrants would be young voters, individuals who would have recently graduated high school post the 2017 election and those still graduating from school.
“It won’t be anything close to what we would normally register during any registration cycle,” Dames added.
“You can rest assured what you have seen in the past will not be necessary moving in the future.
“One [thing] is for certain, that we continue to say — we don’t wish to disenfranchise anybody.”
Registration with the Parliamentary Department is open from 9am to 5pm on New Providence, Grand Bahama and Family Islands.
In December, Parliamentarians passed a bill making the voters’ register from the 2017 General Election a continuous or permanent register.
According to the Parliamentary Election (Amendment) Bill, 2020, a registered voter would not be required to re-register by reconstitution of the boundaries, however, the commissioner may from time to time call upon registered voters to alter or correct their counterfoils of the voters’ cards.
A registered voter or person entitled to vote and aged 65 or older would be considered a special voter and be allowed to vote in an advanced poll.