by Emmanuel Joseph
The Electoral and Boundaries Commission is about to carry out a comprehensive investigation into thousands of “missing” voters.
Volunteers hired by the EBC have since Monday been sorting out thousands of circulars sent to eligible voters for the recent general election, but who could not be found at the addresses.
Chief Electoral Officer Angela Taylor told Barbados TODAY this afternoon†the returned circulars by postal officers were labelled “deceased” or “left address”.
Taylor revealed that she would soon send out the electoral officers of all 30 constituencies to investigate and determine the credibility of those purported to be deceased in particular.
“The ones who changed addresses are easier to deal with by continuing to urge them to come in and give us the correct addresses,” the chief electoral officer noted.
However, she said her department would focus on the “deceased” voters with a view to cleaning up the electoral register.
“We are hoping to finish sorting out the returned circulars tonight,” added the electoral administrator.
“For the purpose of deleting from the register, the names of persons … the commission shall first publish once in the Official Gazette and twice at intervals of not less than seven days apart in the local newspapers, a notice of its intention to consider the deletion of those names,” declared Section 9 of the Representation of the People Act.
That notice of intention to delete would request information as to why the names of the persons listed in the appendix of the notice, should not be deleted. It also would request anyone having information as to whether or not any person whose name appeared in the notice was dead or has been absent from Barbados for a period exceeding five years, to submit such information to the commission.
The information must be submitted not less than four weeks from the date of publication of the first notice. Taylor observed that some of those who could not be found lived overseas, but returned before the five years expired and voted.
The chief electoral officer is also concerned that many Barbadians who had changed their addresses were failing to report the change to the department.
“Many of those who left the addresses where they were registered, went back and voted in that constituency, even though they had moved to a different constituency. All they are doing is confusing the process,” she stated.
Taylor complained that the EBC was finding it very difficult to get Barbadians to notify them when they changed their addresses.
“Since March 2012 we have been requesting people to come in and change their status, but we have had no real response. Most of them are people who rent apartments in the Christ Church area as well as those who moved to St. Philip. They are people who move around a lot,” she disclosed.