by Wade Gibbons
Some deceased Barbadians are being “invited” to vote in the February 21 general elections by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
Barbados TODAY has learnt that a number of families around the island have been receiving correspondence over the past few days setting out the area of registration and the polling station which some of their dearly departed should proceed to on polling day.
In one such correspondence dated February 1, which Barbados TODAY obtained, a resident of the City of Bridgetown who died in 1999 has been directed to polling station BF2 at Westbury Primary School to cast his vote.
Ironically, the general correspondence stated: “If there is a change in your address after February 1, 2013, you are required to inform the Electoral Department no later than February 6, 2013.
“Should you fail to (a) notify the Department and (b) have your new address confirmed by the Department, you will continue to be registered to vote at the polling station listed above. If your change of address is confirmed by the Electoral Department you will be issued an updated circular with your new constituency and polling station.”
Today the family of the deceased told Barbados TODAY their patriarch would now be 106 were he alive, and added facetiously that their loved one had no intention of changing his current address.
When contacted a senior official of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission said that an enumeration process should be conducted every 10 years but unfortunately none had been done since 1996. Describing it as a sad state of affairs, the official said there were still “a number of dead people” on the electoral list “eligible” to vote.
Quizzed as to whether the election process could be compromised with a family member of a deceased turning up to vote with that individual’s identification card and correspondence from the Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the official said it was highly unlikely.
He explained that there were identification checks made at the polling stations and photos could be matched with the persons showing up to vote. He said the age factor in the case brought to his attention by Barbados TODAY would also be important in situations where another family member showed up with documents of a deceased relative.
“He did however concede that family members of younger voters who had died or were living overseas, who showed up with identification cards and their relatives’ correspondence from the office of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission could pose a challenge.
The official noted that in situations where his office sent out documentation to “dead people to vote” the main problem could be the emotional distress which it cause families. He suggested when there were such instances the families should mark the correspondence “DECEASED” and return it to the office of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission. firstname.lastname@example.org