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Rules on advanced voting are ‘unclear’

A mistake at the threshold of the advanced polling station almost deprived one voter of their say in next week's referendum.

Grenville Lines, travelling for his son's graduation on June 23, admitted the onus had been on him to acquire the right paperwork before heading to the station at the Bermuda College.

“I was met at the door by a very nice man and asked for my ID and my advanced voting certificate,” said Mr Lines of Monday's 9am stop at the college.

It was the first time he'd heard of the certificates, which are also required to vote early in elections.

However: “I was also told that I had to get it last week, and they were no longer issuing them,” Mr Lines said.

Identification, with proof of travel, had to be taken first to the Parliamentary Registry in the Craig Appin building, where advanced polling certificates have been issued since June 6.

A look through the registry's website found the requisite details — but “because of what I was told at the polling station, I would have probably given up on voting”.

A co-worker persevered and found that the certificates were still being issued, enabling Mr Lines to return to the college with the right documents.

“I was greeted by the same man as before,” he said. “I questioned him on telling me I could no longer get the certificate, and he admitted he had made a mistake. I asked him how many others he had told that to and he swears it was only me. He should have been aware of the procedures.”

Added Mr Lines: “I don't think the procedures and the need for a certificate were well advertised. That information was at the very bottom of a long Royal Gazette article after the point that most people get bored and stop reading.

“Even if you know the procedure, it's not very voter-friendly. Forcing people to go to Craig Appin to get the certificate and then go to Bermuda College to vote would be difficult for some elderly or less mobile people. Why couldn't they set up an office to issue the certificate right at the Bermuda College? It could be in a second location, away from the voting.”

Advanced voting continues today at the college's student centre, from 8am to 8pm.

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Polling station at the Bermuda College. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published June 16, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 16, 2016 at 2:56 pm)

Rules on advanced voting are ‘unclear’

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