08 August, 2007

Postal Ballots

Constitutional Discussions 18: Postal Ballots. Section 45 of the Anguilla Constitution provides for who has the right to vote at elections. It provides for an Elections Act to be designed to make provision for persons who are unable physically to attend to vote in person on election day still to be able to cast their vote. This constitutional provision legalises overseas voting or postal ballots, if the Elections Act provided for it. The Elections Act that we presently have does not permit overseas voting. You have to come to Anguilla and be physically present to be able to cast your ballot. This rule does not reflect that we have entered the electronic age. We have long been accustomed to posting our cheques in to the bank and depositing money by post. In recent years we have learned to deposit and withdraw money from our accounts over the internet. The elections rule is still in the horse and buggy age. It has not even entered the Post Office era, far less recognise the utility of the internet. The result is that those candidates with deep pockets can influence the outcome of an election by paying to fly in from overseas more of their supporters than their opponents can afford to do.

A majority of persons making representations on this issue before the Commission urged that the Elections Act be updated to provide for overseas balloting. At paragraph 111 of its Recommendations, the Commission recommended that the Act be amended accordingly.

Members of the House of Assembly meeting in caucus at Limestone Bay Café had other ideas. They, in their wisdom, agreed among themselves that they would prefer the situation to remain as is.

Those that are in the House know how they got there! They would prefer to keep it so!


  1. The problem is not candidates whose pockets are deep, but the influence of the foreign investors and contractors who are alleged to keep those pockets full.

  2. A citizen of another British colony, George Washington, commented, "Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."

  3. "One of the problems with the democratic process in the Cayman Islands is that most people feel cut off from it for most of the time. Every four years, there is a convulsion of democracy, when the people can make themselves heard with their vote, but afterwards, there is little opportunity to become a part of the function of government, and the political impotence of the people is profound." --From an editorial in the Cayman Net News

  4. It is said there are more overseas Anguillians than those who live here, and if voting were made easy for them, they would control an island many of them know little about. The truth of this is illustrated by a prolific "cyber-activist," who has opinions about everything in Anguilla but doesn't know we don't have a Prime Minister. She said before the last election:

    "I am very disappointed with Eddie Baird and the rest of those politicians who don't want to see Anguillians Overseas come in to vote or even try to set up Absentee Ballots for us somewhere so we can stay where we are and vote, instead they call us outcasts. They say that we leave Anguilla running on remote. I am sure whoever is our next Prime Minister..."

  5. From what you have stated, one is lead to percieve:- the ultimate Law of the Land, the CONSTITUTION, proscibes a right and mechanism for the citizenry to cast their votes, in the event they are physically handicapped or in the likelihood they are overseas.

    Or ,does the pertinent section, state and define the parameters and ambit in which the Elections Act may operate.
    If a Right is being defined in the Section, it renders null and void any vote, on curtailing of voting priveleges at present, which does not recognise the RIGHT of the present registered overseas Belonger to vote on the curtailing of said voting priveleges, Whilst proffering the mechanisms given a their RIGHT in the Constitution.
    The State, once being made aware, is duty bound to facilitate these mechanisms.

    Any Constitutional Lawyers in the house?
    Caribbean Man
    Belonger C.H(42yrs)

  6. There will always be extremes.
    Should we deny the Einsteins of AXA to vote,Rather they are of sound mind and sharp intellect and are outstanding citizens.
    The village drunk who once held much promise, will he be denied if he is sober on voting day.
    The girls and boys who got all fours at CXC and English or Home Ec waS not one of them: will we deny them also.
    And the one who knows 10% just is not enough,will we deny them for forgetting or misusing the wrong title.
    And the student who left in June last year, money tight and they want to finish quick. We will deny them too?

  7. ywp.. and the hundreds, perhaps thousands of persons who are not related to Anguilla, many of whom have never been to Anguilla- would they be entitled to vote too? That is when the ploters will introduce continuous voting!

    Leave it as it is . The remedy is worst than the cure.

  8. The proposed remedy is worst than the cure!

  9. Maybe those hundreds/thousands of your cousins/grandchildren could be working at Carillion. No more labour shortage of Anguillians. Better yet they could be training for those thousands of jobs to be generated by those 5000 hotel rooms on stream.
    This would fulfil their parents dreams of returning home to Anguilla's arms.
    Caribbean Man C.H


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