General Elections Progress Update
George Town, Cayman Islands, 2016 – The Elections Office continues preparations for General Elections under the nineteen single member constituency system in the areas of legislative amendment recommendations, voter registration, voter education, allocation of voters to single member districts and logistical resourcing for the elections.
Legislative Amendment recommendations
The Nineteen Single Member Electoral Districts Boundaries Order of 2015, gazetted in November 2015, calls each nineteen electoral districts to be represented in the Legislative Assembly by one elected member. The order comes into force on next dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, therefore the Elections Office has therefore given priority to recommendations for legislative amendments to bring the Elections Law into agreement with the order. The first draft of the of recommendations were presented recently presented to Caucus and it is expected that these recommendations will receive cabinet approval for drafting during the coming weeks.
New Year’s Eve 2016 is the scheduled deadline for voter registration for the list of Electors which will be used for the May 2017 General Elections. The Elections Office plans to extended registration until February 3rd 2017. Registration officers will continue to register electors until that time, including special registration drives at public events. Social media programmes initiated by the Elections Office is helping to reach these unregistered voters.
Readiness of Personnel, Financial and other resources
The Elections Office plans to execute general elections on a four-year cycle and the Elections Office has begun to ramp up staffing for training, logistics, and assignments in advance of the 2017 General Elections. There is always a possibility that one or more seat may become vacant outside of the four-year cycle, and therefore the Elections office maintains a state of readiness at all times. If necessary, the Office can call on staff experienced staff in delivering elections, ranging in skill set from returning officers to field clerks, this allows the office to meet the constitutional requirements to deliver a by-election or General Elections. Financial requirements for running the General Elections have been submitted as part of the 2016 to 2017 eighteen-month budget
Boundaries of the 19 Single Member Electoral districts.
The 2003 Electoral Boundaries Commission was tasked with recommending the boundaries of seventeen electoral constituencies, with each constituency returning one member to the Legislative Assembly. The seventeen boundaries were accepted by the LA, and were implemented as 17 polling divisions, however, the voting system maintained the multi-member voting within traditional districts. The 2009 Constitution increased the number of members in the Legislative Assembly to eighteen while the seventeen polling division boundaries and multi-member constituencies remained. The nineteen single member constituency boundaries recommended by the 2015 electoral boundaries common, have some similarities with the 2003 boundaries, with the major changes limited to boundaries in the western part of Bodden town and the eastern part of George Town.
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