09/16/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/16/2021 11:05
Commonwealth observers have been deployed to polling stations across The Bahamas as the 2021 general election got underway.
The polls opened at 8 am for eligible Bahamians to cast their ballots, but queues formed from 7 am.
With over 20,000 people added to the register, the total number of voters stands at almost 200,000.
Advance polling took place on 9 September to allow special and overseas voters, including those aged 65 and above for the first time to cast their ballots.
Bahamians who are 18 years and above are eligible to vote in the Bahamas' 39 constituencies.
To comply with COVID-19 safety protocols, there are more polling booths than in the previous general election, and voters are offered hand sanitiser at the entrance and exit of each polling booth, with instructions to wear face masks.
Former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding, leading the Commonwealth Observer Group, also made an early start to witness voting at the Bains and Grant Town polling division located at the University of The Bahamas.
He said: 'As you already know, the Bahamas has one of the highest voter turnouts in the Caribbean, and my hope is that, despite COVID-19, Bahamians will come out to exercise their right to choose who leads them. On behalf of the team, I wish the Bahamians well as they go to the polls.'
Erynn Dean a first-time voter said: 'Seeing observers here in our country despite COVID-19 makes me feel special as a first-time voter. A very big thank you to the Commonwealth Observer Group for bearing witness to this election, despite the challenging circumstances for global travel'.
Members of the House of Assembly are elected from single-member constituencies using first-past-the-post voting. The party with the most votes then selects the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the Governor-General.
Polls close at 6 pm and results will be announced once all count and tabulation processes have concluded.