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Proposed bill: Friends can vote on incapacitated person’s behalf

Proposed bill: Friends can vote on incapacitated person’s behalf

Select voters who are incapacitated and unable to cast their ballot at the upcoming general elections will be able to empower a friend to do so on their behalf.
This will be made possible through the proposed Elections (Amendment) Act, 2023 that was introduced to the House of Assembly last week.

Clause 6 of that bill seeks to amend section 47 of the principal Act (the existing legislation) by providing for several categories of persons to vote on Advance Polling Day, including the friend of a person who is incapacitated for the purposes of section 45 (4), medical practitioners, nurses, emergency medical technicians, prison officers, and candidates.

Another notable change to the existing Elections Act is outlined in Clause 7 of the proposed amendment Act. Clause 7 would amend section 53 (1) of the principal Act by restricting campaigning upon a public road or in a public place within 100 yards of a building in which a polling station is situated on Advance Polling Day.

There are four other substantive changes outlined in the bill. They are as follows:

Clause 2 would amend section 2(2) of the principal Act by extending the meaning of ‘published’, allowing a notice, a list or other instrument required to be published under the Act to be published electronically or by use of a QR Code.

Clause 3 would amend section 18(1) of the principal Act by providing for the preliminary list to be published electronically. Clause 4 would amend section 23 of the principal Act by providing for the revised preliminary list to be published electronically.

Clause 5 would amend section 40 of the principal Act by providing for the name, address, and occupation of a voter to be announced prior to voting.

Lawmakers are scheduled to debate the bill today and pass it as this would be their last opportunity to do so before the next general elections which are constitutionally due by May.

Before then, however, the HOA must be dissolved. This must happen no later than Sunday, March 12.

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