‘Growing Pains’ at the Advance Polls
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As voters cast their ballots at the advance polls on Thursday, many news agencies have characterized the process as ‘not smooth.’
Voters turned out in large numbers at polling stations, standing in long lines and complaining of the wait time.
Sporadic crowds were seen at some stations as the COVID-19 Task Force sought to ensure order to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham left the polling station frustrated after he complained that his name was not listed at either of the two polling divisions he attended.
He later returned and was allowed to vote after an apology by Parliamentary Commissioner Lavado Duncanson.
But Minister of National Security Marvin Dames with responsibility for the Parliamentary Registration Department said he is “not surprise” at the complaints and agitation by some voters due to the increased number of voters including the elderly, allowed to vote at the advance polls.
Senior citizens are allowed to vote early to prevent exposure to the virus and long waits on lines on Election Day.
Dames said, “We would have recently had amendments to the Act. In 2017, we had a central area where advance poll voters were allowed to come and vote. That was when we had some 3,000 voters. This is like a mini election. We have 30,000 voters.
“You’re going to have your growing pains. This is the first time we are doing this. The growing pains are not significant to really impact people’s right to vote. People are being allowed to exercise their right to vote,” Dames said.
He said his team will “continue to forge forward” and debrief to ensure a smoother running on September 16.