“Ensure The Country Has A Safe Election”

August 28, 2020

The Parliamentary Registrar will be supplied with whatever she deems necessary in order to ensure the country has a safe election, parolees now have the right to vote, and seniors will be allowed to vote at the Advanced Poll, Premier David Burt said.

Speaking at last night’s [Aug 27] press briefing, Premier Burt said, “I would first like to start with a topic which is on many persons’ mind and that is the General Election. I would like to advise that I spoke with the Governor this week to assure him the Parliamentary Registrar will be supplied with whatever she deems necessary in order to ensure the country has a safe election. That is whatever PPE supplies or other materials are necessary.

“The Parliamentary Registrar will meet with the Ministry of Health and put in place the appropriate protocols for every polling station. In addition to that, I advised the Governor that whatever testing capacity is necessary or needed, we will work to ensure that it is delivered. So there is no question about a safe exercise of democracy.

“The Parliamentary Registry Office will also have strict guidelines in place when they visit members of our community who are sick and shut in and who would like to vote. The Parliamentary Registrar will share that guidance in the coming weeks.

“Before I move on, I want to say this – we have adjusted our lives to grocery shop safely, we have changed the way we worship to do so safely, and for the most part we have socialized safely. I have every confidence that we can vote safely too.

“Secondly, I can advise that because of significant amendments to the Parliamentary Election Act that the Government passed in July, this election will be the fairest and most inclusive in Bermuda’s history.

“Prior to the amendments, there was no provision for visually impaired voters to exercise their right in private; according to our most recent census, this development will affect more than 2,300 Bermudians.

“To ensure their ballot was not spoiled, visually impaired or blind voters required an officer to oversee them marking their ballot. While the intent was to ensure a physical disability did not prevent a voter from exercising their right, it was neither an ideal nor independent process.

“Accordingly, the Parliamentary Registrar has authorized the use of devices that allow voters to select their preferred candidate after an audio prompt; the device brings equality to the process.

“As I am speaking about expanding the right to vote, the amendments also gave the Registrar the power to enlarge the category of persons who can vote at an Advanced Poll; previously, only people who were travelling and would not be on-island or those involved in working at the for the Election could vote in advance. I should advise that this year the Advanced Poll will take place during the week of 14 September.

“In the past, travelers had to take proof of travel to the Registrar, days before the Poll and they would receive a certificate. On the day, they would take the certificate to the Advanced Poll and vote. Now voters only need to bring a hardcopy of their travel documents to the Advanced Poll, and assuming the documents are valid, they will be issued a certificate on site and allowed to vote.

“Another significant amendment is related to COVID-19. In an attempt to reassure seniors and reduce risks to their health and wellbeing, seniors will be allowed to vote at the Advanced Poll.

“The major benefit is there are significantly fewer people, meaning more time can be given to assist seniors. The Government considered this option after consultation with the Parliamentary Registrar and Health officials and concluded this the best way to balance the exercise of voting rights with the exercise of caution.

“And finally, for the first time parolees will be able to vote. In Bermuda, incarcerated individuals do not have the right to vote generally as voting is considered a right of living in community or society.

“However, when someone is released on parole and therefore not incarcerated, they still did not have the right to vote until their full sentence had expired; in 2020, parolees now have the right to vote.”

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Comments (11)

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  1. Are they Mad says:

    “The fairest and most inclusive election” Burt.

    How can it be, being that it is at incredibly short notice to the other party, it is under the cloud of COVID 19, where we will be puttin ourselves at risk to vote, where the period to get on the parliamentary register was a crazy short week or so.

    Nothing is fair about this election

  2. Observation says:

    There is absolutely no reason to hold a general election in Bermuda at this time,except to stroke the ego of a young man who is leading Bermuda down the wrong path. Yes, Premier Burt is a clever young man whose oratory skills are on par with Premier Brown, but I’m sorry, the electorate needs to take a very good look at the direction Bermuda is going. Just in case people think I am speaking about colour, I can assure everyone that I am not. Premier Burt is not the the right person to lead this community, there are others within the party who should be considered.

    • Hmm says:

      Didn’t Jet gate UBPobaers LEADER state that his team was ready 4 the election?

      • Are they Mad says:

        We don’t need the election we don’t need the additional costs as we have no money, we most importantly do not need to put people Uneccessarily in harms way or at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. This is madness.

        Burt needs do the right thing and call off the election NOW. Stop putting us Bermudians unnecessarily in danger.

  3. Wahoo says:

    To be clear the tax payer will supply whatever is needed to ensure a safe election…..

    • Hey says:

      This election will cost considerably more than if we did the election next year. All the PPE, the cost of new tests, additional medical staff at each polling station. All the hand sanitizer.
      Please get the message Burt , there is absolutely NO PRESSING NEED for an election in 2020 , health wise money wise, safety wise or term in government wise. Cancel it now.

      Why are you putting us all at risk unnecessarily? This would be much cheaper and safer to do next year.

    • Vic says:

      Just like the tax payers will have to pay for the airport 20 million a year and the 185 million Morgan’s point hotel the OBA signed off on.

  4. Fisherman says:

    Safe distancing….voting safely. Nope!! House parties..,every weekend, larger gatherings to part just because, flights bringing affected passengers. Postpone election until October 2021.

  5. ton says:

    my whole family who votes for plp in the west end are not voting at all , we are about 40 people , we are all for plp but we dnt need an election this year and for our saftey we are not voting.

    • No swing vote says:

      Hmm nice try UBPeroba. Oct 1st the party done.