Proxy voting is long overdue in Bermuda
The following is a letter sent to the Governor, the Premier and the Opposition leader, together with my MP, Wayne Caines.
I am yet to hear back from the latter three, and so this is redirected towards them with edits from the original.
I write regarding those Bermudians who are being denied their constitutional right to vote in the forthcoming election because of being unable to attend the polling stations.
Hundreds of Bermudians are unable to vote for the future of the island, as they are off the island for various reasons, including education, health, work or family reasons, to name but a few.
For those of us who have made arrangements to fly back in time for October 1, we are now being told that we forbidden from voting owing to quarantine rules.
The Government is disenfranchising young Bermudians who have no choice but to get further education at university overseas — as you all did. Surely, these are the very people that should be being encouraged to take an interest and given a vote for the future of our island.
I write to request that a proxy vote be considered. Our postal service is too unreliable for both overseas and local post, so a proxy vote seems the sensible solution. I attach a link to the British Government’s website showing a simple registration form, giving a trusted person permission to vote on your behalf.
This has worked for many years in Britain. Why cannot it be introduced in Bermuda? For this 2020 election.
We live in a democratic society and, I reiterate, it is a constitutional right to be able to vote. Using proxy voting is long overdue in Bermuda, given that so many need to travel often. If the elderly, disabled, blind and parolees can be assisted, so should all of those unable to be at the polling station.
During the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, we that saw that the Government can, and indeed did, make legal changes at very short notice, so we know it can be done — if there is a will. What is more important than giving Bermudians their constitutional right to cast their vote in a democratic society?
I have also brought this to the Governor’s attention, as I believe it should be an apolitical or, at the very least, bipartisan decision.
Devonshire (Constituency 14)
• To view a sample proxy vote registration form, click on the PDF link under “Related Media
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