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Sep 14, 2018

A Demographic Breakdown of the Re-Registration Exercise

Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai today reported on the cleaning-up of the voters list during the still ongoing re-registration process. Now, Stann Creek West pulled out the biggest number of voters to register while the Fort George Division in Belize City had the lowest. Both are constituencies held by the People’s United Party. More women than men took time to go to the election centres except in one constituency.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports on the data taken from one hundred and twenty-two thousand four hundred and forty-seven electors.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The re-registration exercise, ahead of the 2018 referendum and 2020 general elections, is winding down, with applications now being accepted only at Elections and Boundaries Registration Offices countrywide.  Up to September seventh, the total number of applications received stood at one hundred and twenty-two thousand, four hundred and forty-seven.  The goal, according to the Elections and Boundaries Office, is to generate a revised voters list, removing persons who are deceased or otherwise ineligible to participate in the democratic process.


Josephine Tamai

Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer

“The purpose of the re-registration exercise, one of the main objectives is to do exactly that, it’s to filter out persons who have been deceased.  Remember that in order for an application to be accepted the persons must present themselves in person.  So for persons who have passed away, those persons would not be apply to get registered.  So this exercise is basically to deal with deceased persons because we realize that persons are deceased daily.  I will tell you that the Ministry of Health shared their statistics with us in terms of persons who have passed away on a monthly basis, in order for us to clean that list and even with this re-registration exercise we know that we have persons who have registered since the re-registration period started and who have passed away.”


Aside from updating the list, a complete demographic breakdown of voters by electoral districts, et cetera, has been provided by the office.  The process which began in early July took place at designated locations across the country and the number of applications fluctuated across the ensuing weeks.


Josephine Tamai

“At August thirty-first, 2018, we managed to get a total of fifty-nine point two-five percent of the registered electors that we had prior to the commencement of the re-registration exercise.  We all noticed as well that in the second week of July that is when we had the most applications being received.  As we proceed, you notice that the figures go down, it goes back up, it goes back down and in the last week of August, the figures actually went back up.”


The ebb and flow of applications have since petered out, as the cut-off date for the exercise is set for September thirtieth.  In respect of the overall turnout by constituency, Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai provided an analysis based on the highest versus the lowest attendance.


Josephine Tamai

“So from this you can see that Stann Creek West electoral division, we got a total of six thousand, four hundred and ninety-five applicants, followed by Orange Walk North, Orange Walk South and it goes all the way down to the end where we have one thousand and twenty-seven persons for the Fort George electoral division.”


From a political perspective, the highest and lowest turnouts per constituency are held by the People’s United Party; Stann Creek West presently represented by Rodwell Ferguson, while Fort George is led by former Prime Minister Said Musa.  Interestingly, however, more persons applied to re-register in the districts, as opposed to cities and towns.  This is attributed to the efforts of political parties in mobilizing applicants.


Josephine Tamai

“The rural area is where we got most of the applications.  So you will notice from out of the one hundred and twenty-one plus thousand registered voters that we have, sixty-five thousand, four hundred and seventy-two applications were received in the rural areas and that represents fifty-three point eight-nine percent of the number of applications.  For the urban areas, we received a total of fifty-six thousand, twenty-four applications and that represents a total of forty-six point one-one percent.  So again, we can see that the rural areas, the percentage is much higher or is higher than the urban areas.”


During the period in which the exercise was being held, more women applied to become eligible voters than men in all but constituency.


Josephine Tamai

“In almost all, in thirty of the thirty-one electoral divisions you have more females applying to be registered when compared to males.  Belize Rural South, you will notice this is the only electoral division where you have more males applying to be registered than females.  That is Belize Rural South.  So in all other electoral divisions we have more females.  We do have some, for example, like Pickstock, where the difference is only five.  So it’s really small in terms of the difference.”


It will be interesting to learn come April tenth, 2018 how many females participated in the referendum as opposed to the number of males, the same for the 2020 general elections. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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