Dozens of Barbadians may vote outside of the constituencies in which they reside because of a massive influx of last-minute change of address requests to the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
Chairman of the Commission, Leslie Haynes Q.C. revealed that more than 1 000 requests were submitted since Prime Minister Mia Mottley called the General Election on December 27.
He explained that the volume was so great that the officers were unlikely to update all the addresses in time to meet the Friday evening deadline.
“We have had plenty – it’s definitely over a 1 000 changes of address for people,” Haynes told Barbados TODAY.
According to the EBC chairman, the process requires one registering officer in the voters’ former constituency to verify that the person is no longer living there. Then, another officer assigned to the new constituency must verify their new address.
“We have to investigate the change of address and confirm it. That takes at least two registering officers. So when we get over a 1 000 changes of address, you could imagine how busy we are today,” said Haynes.
“We are extremely busy because we have 60 officers in the field and the deadline, I think, is sometime [Friday] night, so that we can start printing the electoral list for Wednesday,” he added.
Over the last few days, letters were sent out by the EBC informing people, who have not relocated, where they should vote. But those whose change of address forms were submitted after December 28th would only be registered in new constituencies after their cases have been thoroughly investigated.
According to Haynes, only then would a letter be issued to those at new addresses and updated voters’ lists printed for polling day.
Those who do not receive letters will have to vote at their former addresses, he advised.
“If they don’t complete the process by the deadline, people who have changed address will vote at their old address. It has happened before… At the end of the day, everybody’s votes will be counted,” Haynes concluded.