Thursday 3rd March, 2005 Posted: 14:54 CIT (19:54 GMT)
Liquor and workers getting time off to vote were two topics raised by election officials last week as matters of concern.
No intoxicating liquor shall be sold, offered for sale or given away on Election Day from the opening of the polls until one hour after the closing of the polls.
That is the law and election officials are keen to have it publicised. “It will be strictly enforced,” declared Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez.
He and Mr. Colford Scott, Deputy Supervisor of Elections, noted that, in the past, sale of liquor was forbidden until after the ballots had been counted in the electoral district. This led to situations in which liquor was legal in some parts of the Islands, but not others.
Now the hours are the same for everyone: no liquor between 7am and 7pm.
Election Day, which has been set for Wednesday, 11 May, is a public holiday.
However, there are people who will be working, such as those in the hospitality industry. Construction workers have also been busy, especially since Hurricane Ivan, with some job sites busy on Sundays and holidays, Mr. Gomez noted.
Mr. Scott suggested that people who work outside the district in which they will vote could go to the polls before reporting to work. “Vote early if you are working outside your voting district,” he recommended.
Voters cannot be penalised for taking time off from work to go to the polls, officials emphasised. Apparently, in 2000, some people were told they could go, but would not get paid for that time.
But the Elections Law makes it clear: No employer shall make any deduction from the pay of any voter who leaves the workplace in order to exercise his or her right to vote.
Workers must be allowed reasonable time off to vote. “Reasonable” is two hours, Mr. Gomez indicated.
Persons who are not on the voters register are not entitled to this time off, he pointed out.
If any employer has reason to question whether a worker is a registered voter, the final voters lists will be available as of 1 April to check. Employers may also call the Elections Office to check which of their staff are registered voters. Another option is to go to the Elections Office website.
As of 1 April, the final voters list – the one in effect for the General Elections –– will be available for sale. Printed lists maybe purchased for individual districts. The CD format contains all districts.