Election Act Changes Outlined

Wednesday 29th, June 2011 / 08:09 Published by

Amendments to the Parliamentary Elections Act could lead to the elimination of the requirement for Bahamians whose addresses do not change to register before every general election.

The requirement has been viewed as an unnecessary one for years. The government is hoping that this will be the last time that people who maintain their addresses will have to re-register.

That is one of the many amendments contained in the bill.

Ingraham said the government is also considering an amendment to limit the circumstances for a recount.

The bill would allow the parliamentary commissioner to amend the register as a result of changes in boundaries up to 14 days after the House of Assembly has been dissolved and the writ of election has been issued.

Additionally, the bill calls for amendments to the law to require election petitions to be filed within 21 days after the results are published as opposed to when the House of Assembly first meets after an election.

The government is also seeking to eliminate two categories relating to protest votes.

As it relates to the establishment of overseas polling stations, Ingraham said the government envisages that stations will be set up in Miami, Atlanta, New York, Washington, DC, and London.

Considerations are also being given to the locations of polling places to be established in Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago where many Bahamians are studying.

The bill also further empowers the parliamentary commissioner to, among other things, access the records of the Passport Office and the Department of Immigration to ensure that people whose nationality comes into question are investigated.

The bill also requires the registrar general to send a list of persons who died to the parliamentary commissioner every three months and the superintendent of prisons to send a list of prisoners every three months.

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