More than Half of Grand Bahama’s Population Registered to Vote

Reno Smith, Assistant Parliamentary Commissioner in the Parliamentary Registration Department, says that more than half of the eligible voters in Grand Bahama have registered for the upcoming General Elections and he’s expecting that number to increase over the next few weeks.

In an interview, Mr. Smith said he was pleased with the process of voter registration in Grand Bahama.

“As of last night, our numbers of those who have registered for this upcoming General Elections were 16,801,” Mr. Smith revealed.  The ‘last night’ Mr. Smith referred to was February 1, 2017. That number has since increased.

“So, we have passed the 50 percent mark and there is a possibility of some 30,000 persons being registered here in Grand Bahama.  We are hoping that in the month of February we would have even more people come in to be registered.

“We in the Parliamentary Registration Department are doing everything humanly possible to get people to register to vote.”

A part of that effort includes the establishment of a number of substations around the island, making it easier for residents to walk into a substation that is closest to them and register. These substations supplement the work being done by the main Parliamentary office, which is located in the Regent Centre, downtown.

Substations are located in West End, Eight Mile Rock, East Grand Bahama, at Christ The King Church, and at the various government schools in the Freeport area. The substations are open from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and the main registration centre, from 9:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Special mobile registration takes place on Saturdays, catering to those have physical disability, making it difficult for them to get to one of the substations.

“We want to encourage Grand Bahamians not to wait until the last minute to register,” added Smith. “No one knows when the date of election will be. Only one person knows when the election will be called, so if you wait for the last minute, you could find yourself standing on the outside unable to cast a ballot in the 2017 General Elections.”

Mr. Smith noted that for those who may be concerned that the process of registration would take up a lot of their time, he pointed out that the average wait time in getting registered is 15-20 minutes. However, he warns that once the registration process picks up, all of those people who have waited for the last minute may find their wait time to be much longer.

There have been some concerns expressed by those going in to register about the form they must fill out as a part of the registration process. Mr. Smith clarified that the form is not an application form because one does not have to apply to register to vote.

“Because of how this office is set up, there is not that much privacy, and so instead of asking people openly for their address, cell phone, home phone number and other private information, we ask them to fill out the short form that supplies officers with this information without having to ask out loud,” explained Mr. Smith.  “In fact, filling out the form even speeds up the process.”

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