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Posted: Monday 2 January, 2023 at 7:05 PM

NRP Leader stresses need for Voter Verification before all Elections

By: Staff Reporter,

    CHARLESTOWN, Nevis - AS concerns continuing to be raised over the way and where people voted in the Federation, the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) believes the time has come for verification.


    Coming out of the December 12 Local Government Elections, the NRP, which lost 3-2 to the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), highlighted allegations of irregularities including constituents had voted where they do not live, and that there were names on the Voters’ List that should have been taken off, as well as people not being allowed to attend objection hearings. 


    Now, the NRP is of the view that the time has come for house-to-house verification of persons who are on the Voters’ List so that objections could be made and rectified in a timely manner.


    The NRP concerns go deeper, as it thrust having Constitutional and Electoral Reform so that there is a specific timeframe where claims and objections could be made, and for timely hearings to be had prior to the staging of any election, whether it be Federally or the Nevis Island Assembly.


    “There must be. There must be! Because based on the process right now, if a person’s name is on the List and they do not show up, if there is an objection and they do not show up, their name remains on the List. One of the reasons why a number of persons do not show up is because they are not residing on Nevis. And these are the things that we must look at and find some way to ensure that the electoral process is fair,” Leader of the NRP, Dr. Hanice Daniel-Hodge noted recently whilst she and other party representatives and supporters protested the outcome of the NIA Elections.


    Pointing out that the outcome of any elections should reflect the will of the people, the NRP boss reminded that it is the people who would have to live with the consequences of their decision.


    She claimed that the election results from the last several polls are “skewed” because of the lack of proper verification of the Voters’ List and factors not necessarily based on the wishes of the people.


    One sore point that has provided differing viewpoints similar to the political ideology is that of overseas voters. 


    During the 2020 General Elections, the borders were closed due to COVID-19 and resulted in many persons residing overseas were unable to cast their ballot. A slogan of ‘who out stay out’ as a means to say that the borders were closed to those overseas. 


    Commenting on the contentious issue of overseas voters, the NRP Leader declared her support for them but noted that it must be done with some tweaks providing for all to be involved.


    She highlighted that as it currently stands, it is the party or organization that has the largest bank account that would be able to fly in supporters to vote.


    “We do welcome our nationals living abroad, we do welcome their participation in the process. However, because of the way it is done now, there is no residency requirements. And, of course, the incumbent, and who has the largest warchest, is always going to be at an advantage because they have the ability to bring in so many people, But there must be some means for them to participate in the process, whether it be absentee ballots or some means,” added Dr. Daniel-Hodge.


    In recent election cycles, all political parties have been canvassing overseas to get their supporters to return and vote. But, as pointed out by the NRP Leader, the best party is the one that could afford to provide assistance to get their supporters home.


    Premier and Leader of the CCCM, Mark Brantley, also supported the idea of having Constitutional and Electoral Reforms. 


    Brantley told reporters at a press conference last year that it is something that is needed. He pointed out that educating the people on constitutional reform is needed, since any such reform would require a referendum. 


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