Students React To Absentee Voting Proposal

November 18, 2015

[Written by Don Burgess]

The organizer for the campaign to allow Bermuda’s overseas college students to vote via absentee ballot is “thrilled” Government plans to change the voting laws.

But some Bermudians are questioning why that right isn’t extended to all overseas Bermudians.

Danielle Lightbourn, 21, helped bring attention to the plight of college students at the last election and started the ‘Bermuda Election: Have your Voice Be Heard’ Facebook page.

She was one of an estimated 170 overseas students who were not able to vote in the December 17, 2012 General Election.

Danielle kennette collage 2

The University of Worcester business, management and human resources management student told Bernews, “I am thrilled to hear that the Government have addressed absentee voting within the throne speech. I do believe that they are committed, and that my efforts will soon bear fruit.

“I believe that individuals possess the responsibility to advocate for the change that they wish to see in the world. As a conscious voter, one is fulfilling this responsibility regardless of their preferred political affiliation. I therefore believe that it is fundamentally wrong to strip someone of this right.

Daniel Oatley, 18, a first year philosophy, politics and economics major at the University of Warwick was pleased that students will now have the ability to vote via absentee ballot.

“In democratic societies, students have always been one of the greatest forces for social change,” Mr. Oatley said.

“By allowing Bermudian students to vote from overseas, we can ensure that those who seek change can be properly represented, which I believe will add to the legitimacy of our democracy.”

Emily Ross, 25, who is doing a PhD in criminology at the University of Oxford, agreed. “I think it’s a win-win situation.

“Not only is it giving students who cannot travel home for elections a voice, but it’s an exciting opportunity for both parties to connect with and engage with young Bermudians. Any move that encourages wider political conversations and participation can only be a good thing.”

While the college students are happy with this result there were many comments online from Bermudians living abroad who would also like to vote via absentee ballot.

Kennette Burgess, who is a marketing consultant in North Carolina, said: “I believe that all Bermudians anywhere, regardless of if they are residing overseas to study in college, for treatment, or to work or even live abroad like me, should be allowed to vote.

“What happens in Bermuda affects us or eventually will and we should have some say in that. What are the objections? As long as the person is a registered Bermudian voter and the system can be controlled to not allow any injustice.

“Also, I don’t believe we need to be concerned with what the rest of the world has or doesn’t have when it comes down to this essential right. This is Bermuda! What is best for Bermudians.”

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Comments (25)

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  1. Cow Polly says:

    Given our younger generation are inheriting this mess, its only fair they get to vote on who they think will clean it up better.
    The next election will be very interesting with these votes in the mix along with our newest Bermudians via the PRC debacle.

    • Vote Now says:

      This is wonderful news as so many of our young Bermudians have been forced to leave Bermuda. All the way PLP.

    • Black Soil says:

      Students deserve the vote because in all probability they have to come back to help deal with the financial mess created by the PLP, so they have the right to have a say (don’t take my word READ THE AUDITORS REPORT which has financial taking written all over it). Bermudians who have packed up and said “GOOD BYE” to Bermuda need to chill.

  2. Terry says:

    Very simple.
    You moved on.
    “extended to all overseas Bermudians?

    Get real folks.
    You moved to Australia, Canada, Britain, COSTA RICA, South Africa, Spain, Azores……..

    Some will get my comment.
    Shalom.

  3. O'Brien says:

    “But some Bermudians are questioning why that right isn’t extended to all overseas Bermudians.”

    Why doesn’t he provide an answer to this? It’s not hard to find: it’s in the Constitution. To be eligible to vote, you need to be ordinarily resident. Bermudians studying abroad qualify, Bermudians who have relocated abroad do not. Simple.

  4. robert says:

    You may have bermudians living and working overseas, are they not entitled to vote !!!!???
    Come on, great idea, but needs to be more open.

    • filobedo21 says:

      The first phase should be for students who are studying abroad who are ordinarily resident in Bermuda. And at a later date include Bermudains who may be working abroad who have not taken up the citizenship of another country. There are probably just too many bermudians who have left Bermuda permanently for them to then come back and participate in Elections, tipping the scales one way or another.

  5. A joke? says:

    I personally feel if you choose to leave Bermuda to go and live/work outside, why should you have a say in what happens here.

    • Zevon says:

      Exactly.

    • Anbu says:

      Um because they are bermudian maybe.

      • Zevon says:

        But if they live overseas why should they have a say in who governs Bermuda? They don’t live here, don’t pay taxes here, and don’t have to deal with the consequences.

        • Kennette 'Island Empress' says:

          Bermudians like me who own homes , businesses in Bermuda, and who have families in Bermuda are 1) paying taxes and 2) dealing with the consequences. IN FACT, some of us Onions living away is a consequence for being Bermudian in itself. job opportunities anyone? I pay taxes. I also plan on moving back after gaining my experience, so why should I not be allowed to vote?

          • Zevon says:

            Oh, you own a business and house here but have no job opportunities until you “get experience”.
            Obvious paid blogger.

      • Kennette 'Island Empress' says:

        EXACTLY! We are Bermudians, point blank . Doesn’t matter if we are here and you are there, Your situation can change to where you MUST live abroad for health reasons or to escape with your family like some have because people want to kill a member of your family. Many locals like me stayed away after college b/c it was in my educational plan to do so, build my resume for a while vs coming back TO NO JOB like many have. sacrifice.

        For those of you who think you are more Bermudian than Onions like me who choose to live away temporarily or permanently, think again, and also remember your situation can change tomorrow.

  6. Moved On says:

    The Bermudians that have moved on need to take part in their local elections. I chose to make my new home in the US and raise my family here. Why should I have a vote in Bermuda? It is perfect just the way it is. If those that have moved on to other countries gave up that right/duty. If they WANT to vote, move back to the island. Too easy.

    • Johnny says:

      Moved on, can you vote in your new country?

      • Moved On says:

        Yep. I am a citizen.

      • Kennette 'Island Empress' says:

        well i am a citizen only of Bermuda. I can not vote in USA. I can get kicked out of USA at ANY TIME!! What happens in Bermuda, affects me.

        • Moved On says:

          Weeeeeell, once you move back to Bermy. Vote. Until then suck it up and drive on. You can hold dual. I do, my Bermudian status has not been rescinded and I have my US citizenship.

    • Regina says:

      Nice! So all of the expats that have left THEIR countries to come live HERE should have a vote in our next election. Great idea – thanks for suggesting it!

      • Moved On says:

        They should! Once they become citizens. It is a duty and right of a citizen to vote. If you only become a resident than I don’t think that right should be extended.

      • Moved On says:

        IF they are citizens then yes. If not then no. Only citizens that usually reside in that country should be able to vote.

      • Really? says:

        Some reason my old name is not working. If the ex-pats are CITIZENS then yes. Only citizens should have the right to vote.

  7. WarwickBoy says:

    Absentee balloting should be available to all Bermudians who are ordinarily resident in Bda but may not be here on election day. Simple.