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ABEC pleased with general elections 

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The Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) has reported that they are pleased with the conduct of the 18th January general elections.

On Tuesday, ABEC credited its dedicated staff and the availability of adequate financing with its ability to purchase vital equipment and supplies and ensure that elections were conducted smoothly.

At a press conference held yesterday, however, the commission made a point of dispelling several misconceptions that have been circulating about the elections.

Among them was the claim that the Register For Elections was published later than prescribed by the law.

Supervisor of Elections, Dame Lorna Simon, dismissed this suggestion.

“We consulted with our legal counsel and because of the public holidays, [between the issuance of the Writ of Elections and publication of register} we are confident that it was published on the correct date.

“In any event, Section 27 (4) of the [elections] Act noted that anything in connection with the printing and publication of the register of electors for Elections, ABEC the right to select the date by which the register is published.

“If we thought that we had done something wrong, the commission could issue an order to correct that. We are, however, confident that we are correct,” she explained.

Dame Lorna also addressed claims that the supposed lateness of the publication of the register did not allow claims and objections to be heard.

“Let me dispel that right away: no objections can be made on the Register for Elections. Objections are made when the Revised List is published with the names of those individuals who registered up to the end of November, 2022. The period for claims and objects ended on January 9, 2023, and no further claims and objections are allowed after that date,” she explained.

Dame Lorna also addressed the concerns raised by one of the visiting elections observer groups regarding the removal of the names of dead people from the register of electors.

She said there is a procedure in place to remove deceased people from the list which is carried out in collaboration with the Civil Registry as death certificates and hymn sheets from the funerals are collected as part of the verification of the death of a person.

“There is a letter that goes to the Civil Registry, and we collect the death certificates. We need proof that a person has passed that can be verified. Currently, there is no automatic notification from the Civil Registry to our offices; we have to request the information,” Dame Lorna noted.

She also urged the public to inform ABEC of deaths they are aware of.

This will aid in overcoming one of the challenges the commission encounters; often the name placed on a hymn sheet does not correspond with the name under which the person registered to vote.

According to the ABEC official, it is inevitable that the names of deceased persons will appear in the register as people die everyday, however, the assurance was given that the number of deceased people who appear on the list at any time is significantly lower than the public is misled to believe.


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