~Monday is Nomination Day~
Monday February 4 is Nomination Day on Saba where the parties will submit their list of candidates at the central polling station located at the government administration building.
Two political parties will submit their list of candidates for the Island Council elections: Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM) and Saba Labor Party (SLP). A third, blanc list of Dave Levenstone will be submitted as well. Political groups were required to register no later than December 24, 2018. Also, on Monday, the candidate lists for the Electoral College will be handed in. The central polling station will open to receive the candidate lists between 9:00am and 5:00pm.
On March 20 this year, elections will be held on Saba. Actually, there will be two elections in one day, explained Island Governor Jonathan Johnson in his capacity of Chairman of the Main and Central Voting Bureau of the Public Entity Saba.
This year, for the first time, persons on Saba with the Dutch nationality will be voting for the Electoral College, a new organ of elected representatives of the people. This Electoral College will vote for the members of the First Chamber, the Senate, together with the Provincial States.
Only residents with the Dutch nationality can vote for the Electoral College. People can obtain information about the Electoral College on the website of the Caribbean Netherlands National Government Department RCN or they can pick up one of the flyers that have been distributed throughout the island.
To vote in the Island Council elections, a person doesn’t necessarily need to have the Dutch nationality. A person, 18 years and older, who has been a registered resident for five years or more is eligible to vote for the Island Council.
The exact number of voters on Saba will become known on Monday, Nomination Day. Saba has over 1,100 eligible voters. The number of voters will be lower for the Electoral College because of the additional requirement of Dutch citizenship. Traditionally, Saba has a very high voter turn-out.
Change in voting bureau
There will be two separate voting cards: one for the Island Council and one for the Electoral College, which will go in separate bins on Election Day, March 20. There will be a change in the voting bureaus this year. One of the two voting bureaus will not the Sunny Valley Youth Center, but at the Fire Station in The Bottom. The voting bureau will be set up in the meeting room upstairs and will be wheelchair accessible.
The other voting bureau will be at the Eugenius Johnson Center in Windwardside, as usual. The Sunny Valley Youth Center is not available this year because 27 students of the Libscomb University will be staying there for their week of community activities. The two voting bureaus will be open on Election Day from 7:30am to 9:00pm. As for the billboards for the Electoral College elections that have been set up in different locations on Saba, Johnson said that these signs are a responsibility of the RCN, and not of the Public Entity Saba. He explained that the persons on the billboards are not candidates. The persons serve to encourage people to vote.
Delivery of the voting cards for both elections starts in the week of February 11. The voting cards have to be in the people’s possession by March 6. People who haven’t received their voting card(s), who have lost it or a damaged card, can get one at the Census Office before March 19, 12.00 noon. Voting cards will not be available on Election Day, said Island Governor Johnson with emphasis.
Voting by proxy
There will be two types of proxy voting: proxy vote by written application and proxy by surrender of the voting card. For the first type of proxy voting, persons can obtain a free form at the office of the Island Governor or the Census Office. The filled-in form should be submitted to the Census Office no later than March 15. Persons need to be registered as a voter by February 4.
A voter can also authorize another voter who is registered in the same public entity to vote on his or her behalf by filling out the form on the back of the voting card. The voter then hands over the voting card to the person who will vote in his or her place, the proxy. The voter needs to give the proxy a copy of a valid ID. Any voter can accept a maximum of two proxies. The proxy vote has to be cast at the same time the proxy voter goes to vote. Granting proxies at the polling station is not allowed.
Island Governor Johnson encouraged people to vote on March 20. “Your vote is your voice. Even though the candidates will be sharing their views on why they want to be in the Island Council, at the end of the day we have to work in the best interest of the island despite our political view.”