EO assures confidentiality of info and punishment for breaches
With general elections now nine months away Deputy Elections Supervisor Sheena Glasgow says the Elections Office is ramping up its voter registration and education programme as it gets set to roll out its door to door campaign at the end of the month.
As she rallied the Elections Office foot troops to begin the process, carded for a 27 August start, Ms Glasgow gave the assurance that all confidential information derived during the campaign will be protected by those engaged in the process.
“All voters can be reassured that the personal information they provide will be handled in the strictest confidence,” Ms Glasgow said through a media statement issued last Friday (12 August).
Each of the 160 enumerators, she said, will take an oath of secrecy before a Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public and pledge to handle personal information respectfully and confidentially.
Adding to her assurance, Ms Glasgow said, elections officials face stiff penalties under the law for non-compliance with that oath.
The enumerators, all of whom have been trained by the Elections Office, will be knocking on the doors of all buildings and structures on all islands to register new voters or verify or correct existing voters’ information records.
The door to door canvassing, according to the Elections Office media statement, will run through to the end of September and, if necessary, will resume on 1 November.
“The enumerators will generally canvass every building and structure in the Cayman Islands to ensure all voters are covered. While voting is not a mandatory exercise in the Cayman Islands, the enumerators will make it easier for existing and new voters to be able to vote by facilitating their registration for the proper electoral districts,” the statement added.
Door to door canvassing, Ms Glasgow explained in the release, was prompted by a number of major changes to the Elections Law, including changes to electoral boundaries due to the new one person, one vote system.
“Where an elector votes is determined by residence. In the past, the onus has been on the electors to come forward and update their name, occupation and address, if there were changes, for inclusion in the final register. But with the law changes, our purpose with door-to-door canvassing is two-fold: to confirm where the electors are living now and will be prior to the elections as well as to help register new electors who wish to vote next year,” she explained further.
Enumerators, she said, will employ procedures during door to door canvassing that will minimise the need for potential voters to provide documentary proof as hard copies.
“For instance, using limited access smartphones, they will take photographs of proof such as birth certificates that need to be provided to complete the registration process. This will bypass the need for further visits to collect the required documentation as physical copies,” Ms Glasgow added.
Voter information will be gathered in one of three ways; using Form 4 for new voters to register as electors; using Form 12 to record changes of name, occupation or street address and registering that there is no change to the entry in the existing voters register, she explained.
The enumerators will also hand over at each residence a Frequently Asked Questions sheet as well as the relevant constituency map, Ms Glasgow added.
The enumerators, she said, are from both the private and public sectors, including a number of officers from the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) who are proficient in routinely conducting such exercises to compile data for their surveys.
“We really appreciate and thank the ESO for working with us in this vital exercise,” Ms Glasgow acknowledged.
The enumerator training was organised by the Elections Office and took place over four days for the Grand Cayman enumerators at the Mary Miller’s Hall in Prospect.
Similar training will take place on Cayman Brac on 3 September for enumerators who will begin going door to door on the Brac and Little Cayman from the week of 5 September 2016.
“The training sessions provided the information required for the enumerators to do their jobs, including through role play by Registering Officers to highlight potential challenges and questions they are likely to face when in the field,” the Deputy Elections Supervisor added.