A referendum will be held on November 6, giving the electorate of this country the opportunity to determine whether or not the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) would replace the Privy Council as this nation’s final court of appeal.
August 31, is the final date of registration for people to participate in the referendum and Elisa Graham, the public relations officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC), has emphasised that anyone who registers after the deadline would not be able to vote in the referendum.
“In order for people to participate in the referendum, if they are not yet registered, they would have to be registered by August 31. This applies to new registrations and not persons who would have already registered. Let me make that clear,” Graham said.
She is also encouraging individuals who have reached the legal voting age to go to their designated electoral branch and register. She has stressed that whether or not they are interested in taking part in the referendum, they should still get registration out of the way.
Graham is reminding the general public that the ABEC carries out continuous registration as prescribed by law. Registration is done Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The PRO also highlighted that contrary to popular opinion, the ABEC does not go into a hiatus between electoral cycles but are always working in the background. She revealed that the commission plans to visit secondary schools and tertiary institutions to encourage awareness of and the need for social participation among the youth.
Graham also stressed that the rules that govern general elections are the very same rules that will used for the upcoming referendum. She said that if anything should change, the general public would be notified immediately. She stated that voters in the referendum will need their voter’s identification card. They will also need to be aware of their polling district and their polling station.
She also disclosed that while the commission is still finalising the locations of polling stations, it is more than likely that they will be the same as the last general elections. She added that as soon as this information becomes available, it would be disseminated to the general public.
Graham also made a call to individuals who would have applied for a transfer to come to the electoral commission and complete the transfer process. She said that the same August 31 deadline applies to the application of transfers as well.
In the same vein, the PRO is encouraging people who have outstanding voter’s identification cards to uplift them from the ABEC’s office on American Road. She is also advising those who have misplaced their cards to replace them before the August 31 deadline. She stressed that replacing a voter’s identification card costs $100 for everyone except retirees.