NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The current voters’ register stands at 189,288 voters, with just over 500 voters added to the register since the beginning of April, according to Acting Parliamentary Commissioner Lavado Duncanson.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Duncanson advised that as of May 1, 2021, there were 131,074 voters registered on New Providence; 30,214 on Grand Bahama; and 28,000 on the Family Islands.
Various centers have been opened for expanded voter registration exercises on New Providence and Grand Bahama, including for individuals who are not on the 2017 register or who may need to make an address transfer.
There were 181,000 registered voters in the 2017 General Election, with a voter turnout of around 88 percent.
The government passed 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.
There is not an expectation for an influx of people registering before the election is called.
The Parliamentary Voter Registration Department has estimated there will be approximately 20,000 to 25,000 people who may register themselves — including new graduates coming out of high school annually.
Constituencies Commission Chairman and Speaker of the House of Assembly Halson Moultrie has said the commission may recommend adding four more constituencies to the current boundaries — three on New Providence and one on Grand Bahama.
He explained that the commission has gleaned from the register that some constituencies have far more voters than others — making voter parity in the current form difficult.
Moultrie has also noted that the commission observed a “strange phenomenon” in a decrease in registered voters on four sparsely populated Family Islands.
The Parliamentary Registration Department has been actively engaged in cleaning up the now permanent register by removing those who have died since the last general election and registered voters who have transferred from their constituencies.
The commission has been awaiting legal advice on how to handle displaced storm victims from Abaco and Grand Bahama, who have been unable to return to those islands but were ordinary residents up until Hurricane Dorian decimated those islands in September 2019.
The speaker has previously said the commission was considering a special voting privilege that would allow displaced storm victims to vote in the constituency in which they ordinarily resided.