Voting at the Hospitals and Retirement Homes: (2) The draconian powers of the sub-committee

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In part 1 we identified that twenty four hours after the publication of the writ establishing the date of the general elections the Electoral Commission shall form a sub-committee, chaired by a Commissioner together with a representative of each of the political parties. The Electoral Commission shall delegate the running of the general election  in retirement homes and hospitals to this sub-committee.

The sub-committee has 4 basic duties established in subarticle 81(2) of the General Elections Act. These duties are listed as follows:

  1. that no undue pressure is bought to bear on voters in retirement homes and hospitals,
  2. that proper and adequate facilities are given to all political parties to canvas voters
  3. that adequate arrangements for voting are made in view of the special needs of such voters
  4. that no political party enjoys an unfair advantage.

The sub-committee in terms of subarticle 81(3) of the Act is given the authority to ensure that

  1. immediate steps are taken to remove and substitute members of staff gravely suspected to have attempted to influence voters
  2. arrangements are made for receipt/delivery of propaganda material and for canvassing dring visiting hours by candidates and political parties contesting that electoral division
  3. complaints from political parties/candidates are speedily investigated and rectified when found to be justified.

These dragonian powers were agreed to unanimously by Parliament as they were agreed to by the PN and the PL. It is not known whether Trade Unions were consulted. Most probably they were not.

to be continued : tomorrow (3) Political Parties and the lists of patients/residents

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