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Your Right to Vote

The important part of the election process is your right to vote. You may not realize it, but there's more to that right than just putting an ‘X’ on a piece of paper.  The election process is one of the hallmarks of a democracy and determines how we choose who will make important decisions about our health, safety, and financial condition, just to name a few things.  The decision has an impact on you, everyone in your family and community, and perhaps people across the country. 

UNIVERSAL ADULT SUFFRAGE

Only people who have a Belonger (“islander”) status and who on Election Day are 18 years old or above can register as voters in TCI, and is entitled to case his/her vote in all national elections. In addition, there is a residence requirement - an aggregated 12 months residence in TCI in the two years preceding the elections. This requirement however does not apply to voters who are members of Her Majesty’s Forces, are working abroad on Government business or studying abroad. Citizens certified to be insane, serving a sentence of imprisonment for a term of at least 12 months, and those convicted for an offence relating to elections are disenfranchised.

According to the law, the Belonger status could be obtained by a person who:

- was born in TCI, and at the time of his/her birth at least one of his/her parents had belonger status,

- was born outside TCI and at least one of his/her parents had belonger status at the time of his/her birth and at least one of his/her parents was born on the Islands,

- was born outside TCI and lawfully adopted by a person who had belonger status,

- has been granted a Certificate of Belonger Status by the Governor for having made a significant social or economic contribution to the development of the islands, or

- is the spouse of a belonger who has made an application for belonger status and has lived with his/her spouse for a period of five consecutive years.

VOTER TURNOUT

For the past decade, many voters in the Turks and Caicos Islands have understood the importance of their right to vote resulting with an increase in voter turnout from 84.4% in the 2003 election, to 86.0% in 2007, and 87.1% in 2012.  This means that approximately 13% of the population do not vote.  It's a concern if fewer people decide to exercise their right to have a say in the political process

WHY SHOULD YOU VOTE

Your vote is your voice and for your voice to be heard, you must register to vote, it is your right and responsibility.

Elected officials determine much concerning the quality of life so don’t let someone else choose your elected official for you.

The biggest election issues often directly effects the Youth and will impact life for years to come and the only way democracy works is if Citizens, young and old, are active participants in the electoral process. 

If you haven’t already, here are a few more reasons why you should register to secure your right to vote:

  • Voting gives you a say on important issues that effects everything from roads, health care and education. 
  • If you don’t register you cannot Vote, it is as simple as that.   
  • To vote in 2016 general elections your name must be on the electors register. 
  • Elections give you a chance to choose your leadership and ruling political party.  It gives you a say on who represents you in your electoral district and “All Island” district and the House of Assembly. 

One (1) Candidate will be selected to represent you in Electoral District and five (5) in “All Island” Districts whether you vote or not, so if you are registered, you will have the chance to have a say on who represents you.  

Persons are quick to complain when they disagree with Politicians, but if you don’t register and vote nothing will change.  Make sure you do your part for elections 2016.

You may think voting changes nothing but in fact it is one of the most important means of making a difference.  Remember a Government only has power because people vote for it.  If you don’t register to vote you’re giving control over your life to those who actually go out and vote.

General Elections can be called at any time and at a short notice.  If you’re not registered you won’t be able to vote, so don’t wait until it’s too late register today and you can have your say.

TAKE ACTION

On Election Day, we encourage everyone to be responsible and exercise their right to vote.  Voting is the one way you can have your concerns heard. As the saying goes: If you don't vote, don't complain.

To vote on Election Day:

  • You must be registered to vote
  • You must prove your identity

Remember that polling stations are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Polling Day. No voters maybe admitted to a polling station after 7:00 pm.

If you are employed, your employer must allow you a reasonable period for voting. Your employer cannot stop you from voting, nor can your employer require you to take time off without pay.

Also be mindful of the rules govering conduct on Polling Day.

Key
PDM = People's Democratic Movement; PDA = Progressive Democratic Alliance; PNP = Progressive National Party; IND = Independent; * Incumbent; ** Political Leader
Sources
https://www.gov.tc/pressoffice/177-supervisor-of-elections-aims-to-provide-greater-education-to-voters

http://government.lawyers.com/your-right-to-vote.html

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