SPEAK UP EARLY: Advance polls set for Sept 9; more than 30K Bahamians eligible

SPEAK UP EARLY: Advance polls set for Sept 9; more than 30K Bahamians eligible

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — More than 30,000 voters will be eligible to vote during the advance polls on September 9 for the 2021 General Elections, advised Acting Parliamentary Commissioner Lavado Duncanson yesterday.

During a press conference, Duncanson announced details for the advance polls, which allows individuals in certain categories to vote prior to the September 16 Election Day.

Potential Advance Poll Voters 2021

Duncanson said some 30,000 applicants are eligible to apply during the advance polls, including people 65-years or older.

That category of voters 65-years or older includes some 26,000 voters — 20,000 of whom will be able to apply for early voting on New Providence, Grand Bahama, and overseas.

The current voters’ register stands at 194,547 voters, with 20,400 voters added to the register since the 2017 General Election.

The department had estimated that there would be approximately 20,000 – 25,000 new eligible voters — including new graduates coming out of high school annually.

The number of registered voters includes 134,479 voters on New Providence, 29,143 on the Family Islands, and 30,925 on Grand Bahama.

Duncanson noted however that the final number on the register is subject to change given that the register is still being purged.

Who is eligible to vote in an advance poll?

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 free copy of the register to the candidate, relating to the constituency for which he is vying.

New Providence advance poll locations
Grand Bahama advance poll locations

The 2017 advance polls were seen as chaotic as hundreds of people stood in long lines for hours at limited centers on New Providence and Grand Bahama.

Duncanson said to mitigate against this happening again, the PRD has expanded the number of voting center options on both islands in an effort to manage traffic flow and follow health and safety protocols.

The department will make available walk-up application centers to individuals seeking to apply for the advance polls, as well as the option to apply online at www.elections.gov.bs or using a provided QR-Code.

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.