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How We Vote: Election 2021

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – What does low voter turnout in Election 2021 say about the future of elections and the process in the country?

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The 2021 general election saw record low voter turnout, which resulted in a landslide at the polls as the Progressive Liberal Party secured victory. What does it say about the future of elections and the process in the country?

From a permanent voter register to more transparency on election day – a number of recommendations have been made by the Commonwealth Observers Group, following the 2021 general election.

But, questions remain and action lacks on several recommendations –  recommendations that are echoes from the last COG report in 2017. Among them, the introduction of campaign finance legislation, a regulatory framework for the registration of political parties, and  the establishment of an independent election management body.

The final report on the 2021 general election notes eligibility criteria and clear terms of employment for the parliamentary commissioner – including conditions for dismissal – would help ensure transparency, and greater impartiality of the role.

So, has there been any progress to bring The Bahamas’ elections closer to international best practices?

Amendments to the Parliamentary Elections Act in December 2020 led to the introduction of a continuous voter register. But, there’s another amendment that has yet to produce any changes in how we vote – one that allows for biometric permanent voter cards. However to date, no such biometric voter cards have been introduced.

The paper voters’ cards we use nowadays have been a part of the process for decades, in an age where many documents have been digitized.

Attempts to secure an interview with Duncanson since the COG report was published in late August, were not successful.

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