FLASHBACK… EBC returning officers carry special ballot papers after receiving them at the Southern Academy of the Performing Arts in San Fernando on Friday 24 July 2020. (Image: KRISTIAN DE SILVA)

Special Electors begin voting tomorrow, prior to the 2020 General Election, scheduled for Monday 10 August 2020.

They will have from Monday August 3rd and up to Sunday August 9th to cast their votes.

On Friday, the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) began distributing packages for Special Electors from their area offices, to facilitate their participation in the August 10 poll. They will have until Saturday, August 8 for collection, and must walk with at least one form of picture identification for collection.

Special Electors will have working days between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm, and weekends between the hours of 9 am to 3 pm, to collect their packages.

Under the regulations, the categories of people eligible to be considered special electors are:

(a) a member of the Police Service, of the Special Reserve police established under the Special Reserve police Act, or of the Estate police established under the Supplemental police Act;

(b) a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force;

(c) a member of the Prison Service;

(d) a member of the Commission, the Chief Election Officer, the Deputy Chief Election Officer, and the Assistant Chief Election Officer;

(e) the Returning Officer of an electoral district other than that in which he is registered for the purposes of the election;

(f) a Presiding Officer, a Deputy Presiding Officer or a Poll Clerk;

(g) a Polling Agent;

(h) a candidate or the husband or wife of a candidate for an electoral district other than that in which he is registered for the purposes of the election;

(i) an election agent or sub-agent who is registered for the purposes of the election in an electoral district other than that of his candidate;

(j) unable or likely to be unable to go in person to the polling station at which he is entitled to vote unless he travels between Trinidad and Tobago;

(k) unable or likely to be unable to go in person to the polling station at which he is entitled to vote by reason of being-

  • a patient in a public hospital, or in a private hospital approved by the Commission, or an inmate in a public institution; or
  • a prisoner within the meaning of that expression in section 2 of the Prisons Act.
  • a member of the flight crew of an aircraft;
  • a person engaged in offshore petroleum operations.

Those who wished to qualify as Special Electors would have needed to register as a special voter by July 17th. 

In-hospital patients qualify as Special Electors, a point which was clarified by both the Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram, and the Chief Elections Officer Fern Narcis-Scope.

On July 6, Mrs Narcis-Scope told Guardian Media that arrangements would be made to ensure that even nationals in quarantine would not be disenfranchised during the General Election.

“We have advised the CMO that it is our intention to allow people who are in quarantine the opportunity to vote. They will be treated as special electors and will be taken care of in accordance with the legislation that speaks to the situation for special electors,” Narcis-Scope said then.

She added: “Persons who are in quarantine will be asked to apply to be treated as a special elector and thereafter arrangements will be made for a special polling station to be set up in that quarantine facility during the period for special voting so these people in quarantine can vote.”

Two weeks ago, CMO Dr Parasram had revealed that only those who had been in quarantine and able to meet the July 17 deadline for applying to a Speical Elector, would be able to vote as such.

He had confirmed then that forms had been collected from the EBC and had been distributed to those in quarantine wishing to avail themselves of the EBC’s special arrangement.

Dr Parasram had noted that although some nationals were in quarantine (in early and mid-July), once they did not present with COVID-19, they could be released before the special election carded for the first week of August.

Some 19 parties are contesting the 2020 General Election, with 150 candidates vying for seats in the 41 constituencies. 

Among those persons vying to become Parliamentary representatives are four independent candidates for the seats of Chaguanas East, Moruga/Tableland, St Joseph and Tobago West.

A total of 1,134,136 persons are registered as electors for the 2020 elections.

Citizens are reminded that they can check to ensure their names on the Voters’ List by visiting the EBC’s website at www.ebctt.com/electoral-process/list-of-electors/.