ELECTIONS BILL GETS EASY PASSAGE IN HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

anguillian
By anguillian October 24, 2014 09:11

 

 

Chief Minister Hubert Hughes

Chief Minister Hubert Hughes

The Elections Bill, 2014, which provides for the use of finger-dipping electoral ink to prevent fraud by double or multi-voting in Anguilla in 2015, received easy passage through the House of Assembly on Monday, October 20.

The Bill first went before the House in July this year, but was deferred for public consultation. Both Chief Minister Mr Hubert Hughes, and Opposition Leader, Mr McNiel Rogers, said then that some members of the public had expressed fears about being disenfranchised if they refused to use the electoral ink.

But when Deputy Governor, Mr Stanley Reid, Mover of the Bill in the House, took the draft legislation to the public consultation, there were little or no objections to its provisions. When the Bill was returned to the House this time, neither Mr Hughes nor Mr Rogers had any major concerns to raise.

“While I have no objection to this Amendment [Bill], may be in the committee stage we could address some of the concerns I have,” said Mr Rogers. One of the few points he raised had to do with a scenario where a voter might have had an amputation of the relevant index finger (to be dipped into the electoral ink) or hand. But the Deputy Governor indicated that in that case such persons would be exempted.

Mr. Evans McNiel Rogers

Mr. Evans McNiel Rogers

Mr Hughes was of the view that “anything that strengthens the integrity of the voting process I would subscribe to.” He said he would be “disingenuous” if he were to oppose the Bill because it was something he felt “should be implemented as a result of certain discrepancies which have occurred in our election process over the years.” He also said that he was “one of those advocates of this particular… provision [for voters to immerse their right index finger into electoral ink].

Mr Hughes was also of the view that the amending Bill was “representative action to block any possible electoral fraud.” He added: “This is the action that has been taken…It is extremely requisite at this time. People have a choice. If some people feel that their moral conscience does not allow them to dip their finger, so be it. They cannot blame anybody if they are disenfranchised. They will have to blame themselves.”

Electoral ink was first used in Anguilla in the 2010 general election.

anguillian
By anguillian October 24, 2014 09:11

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