Wednesday, May 21st is a significant day in the political lives of many Antiguans and Barbudans. Firstly, it is nomination day for the candidates and secondly, it is the day on which the distribution of voter identification cards begins. Antiguans and Barbudans go to the polls on June 12th, 2014.
Public Relations Officer for the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC), Anne Harewood-George agrees that there is a lot taking place in the twin-island state, as it relates to the electoral process. She says that with the imminence of elections, “one of the things that we are going to be doing is publishing the register of electors, and then we will be distributing the much anticipated voter identification cards.”
Harewood-George added that “returning officers will be conducting” the exercise on Nominations Day, while there will also be the “training” of applicants regarding the “position of presiding officers and polling clerks.” The distribution of the cards will run from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm daily, Monday to Friday beginning this Wednesday; in addition, Saturday will be used for card distribution in order to accommodate those persons unable to pick up their cards during the week.
Harewood-George explained that the distribution process will be done methodically, using the polling divisions and alphabetical order. Pertinent information will be continuously distributed to the general public via the media. ABEC is in the midst of solidifying its final list of polling stations, which will exceed the numbers used for the last election, and the 151 stations used in 2004.
With regional examinations in progress, she explained that: “Because it is CXC we’re going to have to have some of them at other primary schools that we wouldn’t usually use, but things are still being solidified, but nobody needs to worry. We will be identifying all of the polling stations and letting you know exactly where they are going to be.”
While things seem to be getting in order at the commission, Harewood-George explained that they have not yet established the counting centres; this process is in the “options phase” and no specific points have been identified. ABEC is also attempting to educate the public by way of a community forum on voter education. According to Harewood-George, this will be an opportunity to voice concerns and pose questions relating to the exercise. A voting simulation will also be conducted at that forum in which “people will actually see how the voting process works.” This will take place on Friday May 30th at the Multipurpose Centre from 6 to 8 pm, and will be open to the general public “so we’re really encouraging people to come and interact with us and engage with the electoral process, because it’s so important that you’re properly informed,” Harewood-George stated.
Reported by Caribtimes.com