$2.5 million in budget for electronic voter register
The government will spend $2.5 million to digitize the voter register and provide the more than 180,000 eligible voters with digital voter’s identification cards.
In the 2018/2019 budget, the Minnis administration has allocated the funds for the Parliamentary Registration Department. In the lead-up to the 2017 general election, the FNM lamented the department’s lack of modern resources and pledged to improve resources. While the department’s budget will decrease in 2018/2019, the capital expenditure is in keeping with that commitment.
The department will receive $1,442,700 in the upcoming fiscal period, down $109,933 from the previous allocation.
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames highlighted the plans for the department during the budget debate in Parliament.
“Within the next fiscal year, the department will engage in a process to procure a digital electoral information management system, which will provide the department with a digitized voter register and the citizenry with digital voter’s identification cards,” Dames said last week.
The digitization process is expected to help cut down on errors on the register.
Ahead of the last election, hundreds of discrepancies existed on the register, calling into question the integrity of the register. In response to questions surrounding the errors, then Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlyn Hall attributed them to “human error”.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said ahead of the election he did not believe the voters whose names appeared twice on the register had done anything maliciously, but rather it was the result of inexperience and incompetence at the Parliamentary Registration Department.
Ingraham said the electorate must be able to repose confidence in the voter register and election process.