2021 ELECTION FAQs

2021 ELECTION FAQs
(FILE)

1. Who is eligible to vote in the 2021 General Election?

  • Those 18 years old.
  • A Bahamian citizen, who must show documentary proof of Bahamian citizenship.
  • Must have been resident in their constituency at least three months.

Documentary proof of Bahamian citizenship constitutes:

  • A Bahamian passport — the principal document that should be presented as proof of citizenship; OR
  • An old voter’s card — an applicant who presents an old voter’s card is requested to also produce a valid Bahamian birth certificate as proof of citizenship; OR
  • A Bahamian citizenship certificate or registration of naturalization — an applicant must also present his/her birth certificate; OR
  • A Bahamian birth certificate — must be presented with government ID, along with the voter’s mother’s Bahamian passport or voter’s card, or mother’s Bahamian birth certificate and government ID.

Eligible voters must be registered to vote at the time of the official announcement/proclamation of an upcoming general election.

Eligible voters can become disqualified from voting for the following reasons: insanity, imprisonment or sentence of death.

 

2. How do I know which constituency I’m in? How many are there?

Registered voters should refer to their voter’s card to know which constituency they are in. The constituency is listed on the voter’s card.

There are currently 39 constituencies in The Bahamas.

 

3. What is a spoiled ballot?

A spoiled ballot, also termed as a spoilt vote, is a cast ballot that has been marked incorrectly, either inadvertently or deliberately, and thus deemed invalid. Spoiled ballots are not counted and are identified at the discretion of election officials.

A ballot can become spoiled due to the following reasons:

  • Failing to mark the ballot (blank ballot).
  • Not selecting a candidate on the ballot.
  • Selecting more than one candidate on the ballot.
  • Writing a message on the ballot paper.

 

4. How do I vote if I’m out of the country?

The Parliamentary Registration Department has made provisions for eligible voters who are overseas to cast a ballot in the 2021 General Election.

Eligible voters who meet the following criteria will be characterized as “overseas voters” and can apply at www.elections.gov.bs or https://mygateway.gov.bs to cast a virtual ballot:

  • Students studying a bona fide program of study outside of The Bahamas.
  • Members of staff of the Ministry of Tourism, the Bahamas Maritime Authority or any embassy, high commission or other foreign mission staff of The Bahamas posted overseas; and the spouse and immediate family members living within the household of that member of staff.

Eligible voters who meet the following criteria will be characterized as “special voters” and can apply to participate in the advance poll:

  • A person not qualified to enroll as an overseas voter who expects to be overseas on Election Day.

Those wishing to apply in person may do so at one of the following locations:

  • On New Providence
    1. Cable Beach Post Office.
    2. Elizabeth Estates Post Office.
    3. Main Post Office, Town Centre Mall.
    4. Parliamentary Registration Department, Farrington Road.
  • On Grand Bahama
    1. Lucayan Lodge Hall, East Sunrise Highway.
    2. Parliamentary Registration Department Sub-Office on East Mall Drive.
  • At an embassy, high commission or consulate office in Washington, DC; Miami Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; New York; Ottawa, Canada; or London, UK.

The application closed on August 27, 2021, for overseas voters, and on September 4, 2021, for all special voters.

5. Where do I go to vote in my constituency?

Eligible voters must vote at the polling stations located within their constituency.

 

6. If I am in quarantine, can I still vote?

Parliamentary Commissioner Lavado Duncanson said officials are discussing the matter and the department is expected to make an announcement on election protocols ahead of the advance poll on September 9.

 

7. How many people have registered to vote in this general election?

As of September 1, 2021, the voters register stood at 194,547, with 20,400 voters added to the register since the 2017 General Election.

 

8. What would happen if the leader of the winning party does not win his seat?

The leader would remain the leader of the party, however, the winning party would have to select a new candidate for prime minister.

 

9. Who is eligible for advance polling and when will it be held?

Advance polling will be held on September 9, 2021, for eligible voters.

Eligible voters for advance polling include those in the following categories:

  • Special voters
    1. A person with a disability or who is aged 65 or older.
    2. A registered voter is likely to be, on Election Day, a patient in any hospital, nursing home, home for the aged or other institution for the treatment of any chronic illness or disability.
    3. A person who, by reason of illness, infirmity, pregnancy or recent childbirth, will be unable to vote in the constituency in which he or she is registered on Election Day.
    4. A person not qualified to enroll as an overseas voter who expects to be overseas on Election Day.
    5. A nominated candidate and his or her spouse.
    6. Election agents.
  • Overseas voters
    1. Students studying a bona fide program of study outside of The Bahamas.
    2. Members of staff of the Ministry of Tourism, the Bahamas Maritime Authority or any embassy, high commission or other foreign mission staff of The Bahamas posted overseas; and the spouse and immediate family members living within the household of that member of staff.

Advance voters must apply at www.elections.gov.bs or https://mygateway.gov.bs. The application closed for overseas voters on August 27 and for special voters on September 4.

Advance polling will be conducted on the islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama, and at designated embassies or high commission offices overseas.