More Time To Register

People waiting to register in St John’s Rural North at Cedar Grove Primary School. (Photo by Sam Roberts/OBSERVER media)

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – People who have not yet registered to vote will have an opportunity to do so next week as voter registration across the country will be extended.

The Antigua & Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) exercise was scheduled to end today, however OBSERVER media has learned that the period will be continued at least into a fifth week.

The extension comes as no surprise as the entire exercise has been dogged by power outages, system failures and internet disruptions.

ABEC officials have been adamant that there would be sufficient time for everyone who wanted to get registered to do so. Last week Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer addressed the nation and reiterated that position.

To date, ABEC reported it has registered over 38,000 voters, but the centres continue to see long queues with work hours extended way pass the 7 pm closing time.

The commission will be hosting a press conference this morning where it is expected that it will make the official announcement that the Governor General will extend the registration period through another Royal Proclamation.

In the second week of voter registration, ABEC registration centres lost approximately 10 hours of registration time due to unscheduled power outages.

On Wednesday and yesterday more hours were lost due to the failure of LIME’s internet connection at centres. OBSERVER reported yesterday that only four of 17 constituencies were registering voters.

A press release from the telecommunications company later that day apologised for the “intermittent” loss of internet connectivity and said the issue was receiving the highest priority and being addressed by technicians form both ABEC and LIME.

Up to press time Anne Harewood George, ABEC’s PRO, was reporting that the problem was partially rectified and that almost all sites were operating again.

Mass voter registration began September 30.

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)