(CMR) With 35 days to go until Election Day for the 2021 General Election, the first batch of postal ballots have been dispatched and should be received by overseas voters within a day or two, the Elections Office announced.
The Elections Office issued a total of 90 ballots on Monday, 8 March, in keeping with the legal requirement to issue postal ballots within seven days of Nomination Day.
Courier company DHL is dispatching 81 of the ballots to overseas voters, while 5 ballots were delivered locally by MailFast to voters who are leaving the Islands and will likely be away on Election Day. Meanwhile, 4 ballots were collected from the Elections Office by voters with imminent flight departures.
To help mitigate against COVID-19 related delays impacting postal voters, Cabinet has approved recommendations submitted by the Supervisor of Elections to amend the Elections Rules and permit General Election ballots to be sent and returned via commercial courier.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, express and regular mail services worldwide continue to face disruptions, including limited airlift capacity, varying prevention restrictions, and logistical challenges with international postal systems.
In welcoming the amendment, the Supervisor of Elections, Wesley Howell, said, “The unprecedented circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have created new challenges for postal voters and the Elections Office. Being able to take advantage of DHL’s dedicated aircraft and robust international transportation systems is one way we are overcoming these challenges to ensure that Postal Voting is conducted smoothly.”
The amended rules, gazetted on Wednesday, 3 March 2021, allow the Elections Office to dispatch outgoing postal ballots by Courier and pre-pay the return ballot’s cost from the voter to the Elections Office.
Section 109 of the Elections Act permits Cabinet to amend the Election rules with respect to incidental matters related to taking or voting by post or mobile and voter registration.
Postal ballot and mobile voting applications are only valid for one election or referendum.
Registered voters who will be overseas on Election Day are strongly encouraged to apply for postal ballots at their earliest opportunity. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, 6 April 2021. Forms are available on elections.ky. The completed forms can be emailed to email@example.com.
Postal voters are reminded to read and follow the postal ballot’s instructions to ensure their ballot will be accepted.
Candidates and agents are reminded that it is an offense to assist with postal ballot application forms or witness a postal voter declaration of identity form.
Postal ballots should be returned as soon as possible as they must be received by the Elections Office in Grand Cayman or Cayman Brac no later than Tuesday, 13 April. All ballots have to be received by the Returning Officer by 6 pm on April 14th to be counted.