Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis claimed at a rally on Cat Island on Friday night that the computer system crashed at the Parliamentary Registration Department and erased the names of registered voters, but Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlyn Hall said yesterday there is no truth to this. Minnis made the claim while insisting the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is trying to “steal” the coming election. “They will do any and everything to steal this election,” Minnis charged. “I have been advised that yesterday, the parliamentary registry stopped registering voters after 7 o’clock. They shut down because the computer system had crashed – and not only that. “I’ve been advised that individuals who have been registered, the computer was automatically deleting or removing their names off the register. That’s a serious matter.
Minnis made the claim while insisting the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is trying to “steal” the coming election. “They will do any and everything to steal this election”
“What it means is that you may show up to vote with your voter’s card, but your name will not be on the register.
“I ask Sherlyn Hall to investigate this matter and report to the Bahamian people. “This happened during the gender referendum. You would remember that many people went with their voter’s card, but their names were not on the voter’s list. “We will not tolerate this…” Minnis “warned” the government that the FNM will request international observers to ensure the PLP “does not steal this big one”. The FNM leader did not provide any indication on where he got his information from that the computer system crashed.
But Hall said yesterday he received no call from Minnis. “He should have called,” the parliamentary commissioner said. “Tell him to call. Just how you called me, he can call.” While Minnis alleged that the PLP is trying to steal the election, he offered no evidence to support his claim. He also did not indicate whether he tried to reach the parliamentary commissioner. Last week, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage reported that over 142,000 people were registered to vote. Of that figure, 22,000 people have registered on Grand Bahama and approximately 26,000 on the Family Islands. Another 94,000 people have registered on New Providence.
“There is a fairly substantial number of cards still to be computerized, so it may be that we are nearing 150,000 registered voters, which brings us now very closely into the area we were in during the last election,” Nottage said.
The government has not indicated whether it intends to invite election observers to The Bahamas this year.
Election observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) were in the country for the 2012 general election at the request of the Ingraham administration. It was the first time The Bahamas invited the OAS to carry out an Electoral Observation Mission. The observers observed the voting in 30 of the 38 constituencies and conducted extensive interviews with key stakeholders.
They noted that The Bahamas undertakes a complete re-registration of voters every five years. “This positive effort guarantees that the electoral register accurately reflects the current voting population. The Bahamas also redraws its constituency boundaries on a regular basis. This important process should always be independent and the membership of the Boundaries Commission should reflect this,” the observers said.