SKN Supervisor of Elections Elvin Bailey delivers address in relation to General Election 2020  

Mr. Elvin Bailey, Supervisor of Elections in St. Kitts and Nevis, delivering an address on May 22, 2020, on General Election 2020
Mr. Elvin Bailey, Supervisor of Elections in St. Kitts and Nevis, delivering an address on May 22, 2020, on General Election 2020

SKN Supervisor of Elections Elvin Bailey delivers address in relation to General Election 2020

 

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 22, 2020) — The following is an address by Mr. Elvin Bailey, Supervisor of Elections in St. Kitts and Nevis delivered on May 22, 2020, regarding the 2020 General Election.

Fellow citizens and residents, greetings,

His Excellency Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton, GCMG, CVO, QC, JP, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris dissolved Parliament on 12th May, thereby paving the way for the conduct of the 9th General Election on June 5th. The necessary and appropriate steps have been taken to give effect to the Writ of Elections.

There are 11 electoral constituencies, all along the boundaries that were last used in the 2015 election.  For each Constituency a Returning Officer has been appointed as follows:-

–          Constituency 1:  Mr. Jermaine Lake

–          Constituency 2: Ms. Sharon Hanley

–          Constituency 3: Mr. Melvon Bassue

–          Constituency 4: Mr. Meguel Thomas

–          Constituency 5: Dr. Vincent Hodge

–          Constituency 6: Mr. Edwin Warner

–          Constituency 7: Dr. Patrick Welcome

–          Constituency 8: Mr. Phillip Browne

–          Constituency 9:  Mr. Kevin Barrett

–          Constituency 10: Mr. Rohan Claxton

–          Constituency 11: Mrs. Ermileta Elliott

We are confident that these officers will execute their duties professionally. They will be at the nomination sites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to receive nominations as stipulated by law.

Nomination Day has been set as Wednesday 27th May. Consistent with the National Assembly Elections Act, nominations for duly qualified candidates to contest this election will take place at the following places, between the hours of 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and will each be attended to by its Returning Officer. The nomination sites are:

–          Constituency 1: Police Training School

–          Constituency 2: Mc Knight Community Centre

–          Constituency 3: St Johnstons Community Centre

–          Constituency 4: Old Road Community Centre

–          Constituency 5: Sandy point Community Centre

–          Constituency 6: Dieppe Bay Police Station

–          Constituency 7: Tabernacle Police Station

–          Constituency 8: St. Peters Community Centre

–          Constituency 9: Bath Community Centre

–          Constituency 10: David Freeman Centre of Excellence, Market Shop

–          Constituency 11: Cotton Ground Community Centre

Candidates must be nominated by at least two registered voters of the constituency in which the candidate seeks election, subject to the conditions set out in section 62 of part IV of the Act. In due course an announcement will be made of the successfully nominated candidates.

The Register of Voters for this election consists of the persons who were registered to vote as of 31st March 2020. This is in accordance with Section 51 subsections (1) & (2) of the National Assembly Elections Act which indicates that the register should include the last publishable revised monthly list.

The date of the poll being 5th June, means that the registrants for March having passed the public scrutiny and is publishable between the 15th and 31st May are the last set of registrants that will be added to the register, and thus become eligible to vote. Put another way, registrants on the Annual Register plus those who registered in December through to March are eligible to vote.

There are over 45,000 persons on the register, and I will provide the breakdown in due course.

Due to these numbers, and based on the requirements for COVID-19, adjustments have had to be made to some of the polling stations. The sites of these stations will be made available soon and will be posted in conspicuous places per district and in newspapers. Please pay attention to ensure that you know where your polling station is.

I am encouraged that the public is already examining the register to ensure their names are registered and for where. I urge them to continue to do so. These registers will shortly be displayed in the public domain and at the Electoral Offices in Charlestown and in Basseterre.

Almost 130 polling stations have been established to accommodate voters. For ease of the voters, every effort has been made to keep each station at 450 or so voters. Again, a list of the stations and voters assigned will be published in the local newspapers and displayed at public buildings in each district.

Polls will be open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m.  Any and all persons in line in the precinct of the polling station at 6 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Anyone who comes in line after 6 p.m. will not be allowed to vote

Persons whose National Identification cards have expired, persons who have misplaced or lost cards, persons whose cards are being held by others, once they are properly registered will still be able to vote upon presentation of any other form of government issued picture identification. These can be a passport, driver’s license, social security card or even a senior citizens card. The Presiding Officers and agents of the candidates will also be equipped with picture lists to aid in identification of voters.

Presiding Officers, Polling Clerks and Tally Clerks will be appointed and are mandated to undertake their assigned tasks without partiality, fear or favour. The Presiding Officers will be responsible for the maintenance of order at the polling stations. Voters are asked to pay special attention to the instructions of the Electoral Officers, in particular to those of the Presiding Officers, and the conditions under which one’s vote will be inserted into the ballot box.

The law allows for persons, who other than the electoral workers and agents, can be in the polling stations. Candidates are allowed to be present but they are NOT allowed to spend more than 5 minutes together with their agent. The candidate is not allowed to wander into any and all polling stations, only to those stations in which he/she is a candidate.

I am asking all candidates to respect this section of the law as it is written at Section 80 (1) in the National Assembly Election Act: “The presiding officer shall keep order at his or her polling station and shall regulate the number of voters to be admitted at a time, and shall exclude all other persons except the Supervisor of Elections, the returning officer of the constituency, the polling clerk, the candidates, one agent for each candidate appointed by such candidate in accordance with the provisions of section 72 of this Act and the police officers on duty.”

Presiding Officers will receive all election materials including ballot boxes in due course. All such materials will be displayed on the morning of the poll before the start of the voting. Our new ballot boxes follow international standards and will be displayed, inspected and locked before ballots are cast.

At the close of the polls, boxes will be sealed and transported to the point of counting under armed guards and in the presence of appointed Party Agents.

To this end, the political parties have been invited to appoint agents to witness all that goes on in the polling stations as well as at the count of the votes cast. Special attention will be paid to the folding of the votes so as to ensure the secrecy of the vote.

The ballots will be counted by the Returning Officers (and one or more assistants as necessary) starting at about 8 p.m. at the following places:

–          Constituency 1: Police Training School

–          Constituency 2: Old Girls School, Victoria Road

–          Constituency 3: St. Johnsons Community Centre

–          Constituency 4: Verchilds High School

–          Constituency 5: Sandy Point Community Centre

–          Constituency 6: Dieppe Bay Police Station

–          Constituency 7: Tabernacle Police Station

–          Constituency 8: St. Peters Community Centre

–          Constituency 9: Red Cross Building, Charlestown

–          Constituency 10: Hanleys Road Community Centre

–          Constituency 11 Cotton Ground Police Station

Results will be broadcast live on radio and television stations as well as social media.

I appeal to the public to pay attention to the Electoral Offences, all of which carry prison terms and fines. These too will be published in the newspapers.

I invite the public to join all electoral workers to ensure that the elections are peaceful, and that each person gets one vote in the right place. All eligible voters, duly registered are urged to exercise their franchise by voting on polling day. If you are not registered, do not attempt to vote, and do not impersonate a voter.

Employers are reminded that employees should, by law, be allowed time to carry out their constitutional right to vote.

Voting will be conducted with the COVID-19 Regulations in mind, and I wish to highlight some of them at this point:

  1. Electoral Workers and party agents will themselves adhere to COVID-19 rules
  2. Stations will not be apportioned more than 450 – 500 voters
  3. All voters will be expected to wear a face mask while standing in line.
  4. Persons are expected to stand 6 feet apart while waiting their turn to vote
  5. Upon entry into the polling station, persons will be required to sanitise their hands and temporarily remove their mask for ease of identification. Remember, the staff at the polling station will be equipped with a voter identification list or a picture list.
  6. After voting, the voter will be required to cleanse the dipping finger in an alcoholic solution provided BEFORE dipping in the indelible ink
  7. Periodically, about every hour, the table surfaces and the poll box will be disinfected
  8. There will be an additional poll clerk per station whose duty will be to identify and give preference to the fragile elderly, differentially abled persons, and persons who identify and can prove to have pre-existing conditions.
  9. Electoral staff will be clearly identifiable by the vest they are wearing

Finally, the elections will be observed by local observers – the Christian Council, Evangelical Association, and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Thank you for your attention, and may God continue to bless us all.

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