ST JOHN’S — The election train, which sometimes appears to be stalled in its tracks, is picking up speed, as re-registration of all voters in Antigua & Barbuda will begin by month end.
Chairman of Electoral Commission Juno Samuel confirmed that all systems are “go” for re-registration as a precursor to general elections, constitutionally due in 2014.
Samuel said all political parties will be invited to a meeting on September 9, to be brought up to speed with electoral matters as they relate to the election.
Speculation has been rife that the process would be aborted given the uncertainty of changes to the constituency boundaries, but Samuel said it was always the intention of the body to conduct the exercise with or without the changes.
“We have always planned to reregister in all the constituencies as they exist now, and we will still go along with re-registration towards the end of the month,” the chairman said.
The exercise will begin with a major thrust for the first 30 days, during which time, Samuel said, it is expected that thousands of voters will register at the registration centres, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“There will be one month of intense registration, after the governor general issues the proclamation, then the old list dies,” the chairman said of the process.
He also said following the first 30-day drive, the first list will be published and “thereafter there will be continuous registration”.
Although the already established registration centres in the constituencies will be used, Samuel said the Multipurpose Centre at Perry Bay will act as a super centre for all registration “as this will be done electronically.”
The chairman noted, too, that there will be no shortage of manpower, as the commission has hired more than 100 people who have been trained to carry out various functions during the exercise.
The additional staff will be temporary and, according to the head of the commission, will only be needed for a couple of weeks after the initial blitz.
This time round the requirements for registration will be more stringent, as only citizens will be allowed to register to vote, in accordance with the amendments to the Representation of the People Act.
A photo ID must be presented along with proof of residence. Non-nationals must submit proof that they have been living here legally for at least seven years, evidenced by a certificate of citizenship. (Antigua Observer)