Political stakeholders across the region have taken careful note of the legal fracas that unfolded ahead of Barbados’ January elections when thousands of eligible voters were denied the ability to cast their ballot because of their COVID-19 status.
It was determined that as many as 5000 people in Barbados who were either infected with or had been exposed to COVID-19 and were in isolation or quarantine would not be allowed to vote as it posed a threat to public safety.
With elections machinery well underway here in Antigua and Barbuda, the government and Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission are yet to indicate what measures will be taken to ensure a similar situation does not occur here.
In some circles, it has been proposed that inlight of the ongoing nature of the pandemic, it might be time for governments to consider legislative changes which will allow eligible electors who find themselves affected by COVID-19 when an election is called the option of an absentee vote or other secure alternative methods of participation.
Efforts to reach ABEC chairman, Nathaniel ‘Paddy’ James on Wednesday for comment on what plans are being made by the commission to address the new challenges created by COVID-19 ahead of elections were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, the Boundaries Commission has announced that it will host a virtual consultation next Wednesday.
The 9th February meeting will be held via Zoom at 7pm and will seek to safely engage the public on matters related to the electoral process. At this time, questions, concerns and suggestions will be entertained by the members of the commission, which is led by Hilroy Humphreys.
Those interested in participating in the meeting may do so using the Zoom meeting code 72844658841 with access granted with the password sg493C.
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