The Elections and Boundaries Commission is the sole organization in our country tasked with the duty of carrying out the registration of voters and supervision of all our political elections. Every year the commission in every district takes the months of July and August to conduct what they call the transfer of voters.

These transfers occur when voters from one constituency move to another constituency and therefore are required to visit the offices of the Elections and Boundaries Department to transfer their votes. Today we visited the Elections and Boundaries office in Orange Walk to find out more about how these transfers work.

Soledad Alonzo is the registering officer for the Elections and Boundaries Department in Orange Walk.

alonzoSoledad Alonzo- Registering Officer

“To qualify you have to be living in that division for at least two months and the requirements are simple, you bring a picture identification card and a current utility bill. What we do then is that we conduct an investigation and after investigating and we are satisfied that you are living there then your name is published in the supplementary list.”

Last year a large number of persons transferred their votes, and the trend seems to be continuing this year. The reason for the transfers this year though, is attributed to the upcoming municipal elections.

Soledad Alonzo- Registering Officer

“I think the transfer take the same trend because last year we were gearing for the conventions and that took a lot of heat because a lot of people were coming to change from one division to another to support their candidates. Now like how this will be the last transfer before the Municipal Elections we are seeing that people are coming out to do their changes in the division where they are living now.”

But the number of transfers cannot top the number of newly registered voters. Over the past months there has been a heavy traffic of young people registering to become eligible voters.

Soledad Alonzo- Registering Officer

“More new registrars are coming in than the transfers especially the people that are just completing 18. If you check our supplementary list they are published every 15th they are placed on the bulletin board at the office you will see the age group are the young people. We get a few people in their late forties, thirties and twenties that have changed their minds and decided to come and register but mostly we get people that are just 18.”

And the sanctity of the voting process must be maintained at all times, at least it should be, and that is why there are serious penalties for certain offences.

Soledad Alonzo- Registering Officer

“The offense which we see mostly happens are when people want to register more than once. If you have already been registered in some division you don’t have no need to come and register again what you do is that you apply for a replacement because there is a penalty for people that seek registration twice. The penalty is a fine not exceeding$1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year. Then we also have people making false statements for registration this offence can see the person receiving a fine not exceeding$1,000 or one year imprisonment.”

If you have any questions on the requirements to transfer your vote or register as a voter you can contact the elections and boundaries office at 322-2100.

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