NASSAU, BAHAMAS Now that the next general election has been set for September 16 and nomination day for individuals vying for office set for September 9, all those eligible to vote in the advance polls have been invited to apply.
The governmentpassed the Parliamentary Election (Amendment) Bill, 2020, in December, which made the voters register from the last general election in The Bahamas a continuous or permanent register.
Under amendments to the act, a registered voter or person entitled to vote, aged 65 and older, would be considered a special voter and be allowed to vote in the advance poll.
A Parliamentary Registration Department notice issued on Friday noted that individuals eligible to register for the advance polls include nominated candidates and their spouses; eligible overseas voters applying with Form J; a confirmed traveler already scheduled to be out of country on Election Day, with requisite proof; and doctor-certified individuals with illness, infirmity, pregnancy or recently pregnant, with requisite proof, unable to vote on the day of General Election.
Eligible individuals may apply on New Providence at the Parliamentary Registration Department, Town Centre Mall Post Office, Elizabeth Estates Post Office, Cable Beach Post Office, Carmichael Road Post Office or Grants Town Community Center; or on Grand Bahama at the Lucayan Lodge Hall orParliamentary Registration Department.
Eligible overseas voters must complete the Form J application and submit it to their nearest Bahamas Consular or High Commission Office for onward submission to the Parliamentary Registrations Head Offices in Nassau, and they can also obtain copies of the form from the same locations.
According to Acting Parliamentary Commissioner Lavado Duncanson, as of Thursday, the voters register stood at 194,320 voters.
There were 181,000 registered voters in the 2017 General Election, with a voter turnout of around 88 percent.
The Parliamentary Voter Registration Department had estimated there would be approximately 20,000 to 25,000 people who may register themselves including new graduates coming out of high school annually.
There was not an expectation for an influx of people registering before the election is called.
In a national address on Thursday, less than an hour after the provost marshal announced the same-day dissolution of Parliament, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis rang the proverbial election bell.
This came just one day after Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle read proclamations proroguing Parliament.
The voters register is closed at the end of business day 24 hours prior to the House being dissolved.
Under the elections act, the parliamentary commission must publish the register within 14 days of the election being called and make available a freecopy of the register to the candidate, relating to the constituency for which he is vying.
All individuals seeking nomination as a candidate for any constituency should deliver a declaration of qualification and a deposit of $400 to the returning officer on nomination day. A nomination paper must be signed by not less than five subscribers registered as voters in that constituency.
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