Voting at the Hospitals and Retirement Homes: (3) Political Parties and the lists of patients/residents

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So far, in parts 1 and 2 we have 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 duties of this sub-committee are wide ranging.

The sub-committee shall receive from the administration of the Hospitals/Retirement homes lists of patients/residents. These shall be submitted to the sub-committee within three days from the publication fo the writ identifying the general election date.  In addition a list of all staff expected to be on duty up to the day following election day shall be furnished by the administrators to the sub-committee.

The list of residents in retirement homes shall include names, ID card numbers, last known address, age, ward number, name and address of next of kin and the electoral district where the resident is entitled to vote.

The details of all patients in hospitals is also to be submitted. It shall include names, ID card number, last kniown address, ward number, name and address of next of kin. This list is to be updated daily until the day preceeding the election.

Full details of staff at both retirement homes and hospitals will also be furnished by the administrator: the information shall include name, ID card number, grade, address, as well as their expected working hours up to the day after the election .

The sub-committee shall supply to the political parties the lists containing the information on residents, patients and staff. The information supplied to the political parties shall be updated regularly.

Staff members in hospitals and retirement homes are expressly prohibited from engaging in propaganda for any political party or candidate. Severe penalties shall apply if they ignore this: general interdiction for a period of 10 years.

The political parties will thus be informed in detail of who the residents in retirement homes as well as hospital patients are, their last known residence as well as details as to their next of kin. It is to be pointed out that in respect of hospital patients information as to the ward where the patient is receiving treatment will also be communicated to the political parties thereby indirectly informing them of what’s wrong with the voter’s health.

to be continued : tomorrow (4) Voting documents & voters choices

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