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Jul 2, 2018

Re-Registration – the First Day!

The last re-registration of electors took place in 1997. Another should have followed ten years later, but the law was amended for it to occur fifteen years later, which should have been in 2012. The process has been postponed twice since then, but this morning it got underway countrywide in anticipation of next year’s ICJ referendum and the general elections due in 2020. Centres were opened across the country and there were some delays this morning as the machinery took some time to crank up. In Belize City which has the largest number of electors with sixty-eight thousand eight hundred and thirty-four electors, the process appeared to be slow and voters were not in a rush to re-register. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo visited some centres and files this report.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Across the country, dozens of re-registration centres opened their doors for re-registration of electors. In Belize City, thirteen centres spread across the constituents saw a small number of Belizeans going in to register. One of those persons was sixty-two-year-old Mark Ysaguirre who votes in the Queens Square Division.

 

Mark Ysaguirre

Mark Ysaguirre, Re-registered

“I think this re-registration is a good thing. I think we are helping a lot of people who aren’t registered yet. They can get registered. I don’t know for a fact maybe some people dead they are using their registration thing. It’s going to clear up a lot of stuff that needs to be cleared up.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Do you believe that by the end of this mass re-registration exercise that the voters list will be cleaned will be cleared off from the ghost voters?”

 

Mark Ysaguirre

 “It should be cleaned. It should be more transparent that anything else. As long as you come in and follow whatever you need to do and whatever questions they need you to answer, it should clear the voters list very, very good.”

 

Ysaguirre says he re-registered in order to participate in the 2019 ICJ referendum and the upcoming general elections. Some persons like Pickstock voter John Burke, has his interest in the latter more than the former.

 

John Burke

John Burke, Re-registered

“Well I just want to make sure my vote, want to make sure Sedi Elrington lose and that is the point. I got everything in my pocket, all of my documents. Make sure Elrington lose because he is not doing anything for back here.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“How long have you been waiting for?”

 

John Burke

“Two hours.”

 

The mass re-registration will come to an end on August thirty-first, 2018 and according to the Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai, both major political parties have been kept in the loop to assist in the process.

 

Josephine Tamai

Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer

“It’s not a monthly activity. This exercise starts from the first of July. We have already did our notice to encourage to apply up to the 30th of September. So everybody who applies between the months of July and September, all applications that have been process up until the 30th of September, in the month of October then we will be have a revision list that persons can view. That is what we call the new register and the law speaks clearly to the new register. So it’s not normal. This is a re-registration process. When that process is completed and we go back to continuous registration then that it when you have a monthly publication. When we met with the political parties initially that was discussed and we also agreed with them based on the turn out we will be sharing the information that we receive with the political parties on a monthly basis. If we have mass turn out quite possibly that it will be every two weeks depending on the turn out. When it comes to observing the political parties have representation at the registration centers. Even when the information from Vital Statistics Unit and Immigration Department comes and we have to send those to verify the political parties will have scrutineers here at the central office to observe that process.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

 

The Cayo District has forty-eight thousand plus electors, Orange Walk thirty thousand five hundred plus, Corozal has twenty-six thousand, while Stann Creek has fifteen thousand eight hundred and Toledo has the lowest with just under fifteen thousand voters.

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