There will be 23 additional polling districts at which electors will cast their votes in the next general elections, which are constitutionally due next year.
This is according to Acting Chief Electoral Officer, Angela Goddard, who pointed out that there would be 26 new polling districts, whilst three existing ones, two in St. Andrew and one in St. Philip West have been eliminated. As a result, the total number of districts will increase from 290 to 313.
These changes are as a result of a recent review of polling districts by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
Mrs. Goddard explained that the Commission was required to keep the polling districts of each constituency under review and by notice “to make alterations in such districts including the abolition or establishment of any polling district.
“The decision to have a review at this time came about because in some instances we were having congestion at polling districts on election day and we also wanted to make access to polling stations convenient to electors,” she added.
Prior to the review, Section 29 of the Representation of the People Act Cap. 12, stated that each polling district, as far as practicable, should contain approximately 1,000 qualified electors.
However, the results of the review indicated that there were 42 polling districts which had in excess of 1000 electors. As a result, a decision was taken by the Cabinet of Barbados to increase the number of electors in a polling district to 1500.
Thirteen constituencies were affected by this decision. They are: St. Andrew, Christ Church West Central, Christ Church South, Christ Church East, Christ Church East Central, St. Michael North, St Michael South East, St. Michael South Central, St. Philip South, St. Philip West, St. James North, St. James South and St. Thomas. Mrs. Goddard stressed, however, that the review exercise involved only polling districts and had nothing to do with changing constituency boundaries. The number of constituencies in Barbados therefore still remains 30.
Also, not all electors in a constituency were affected by the changes. Circulars have therefore been sent to the relevant persons within the 13 constituencies. In addition, a series of town hall meetings was held to familiarise affected electors about the proposed changes.
The Acting Chief Electoral Officer advised any electors who still had queries, that these should be directed to the Registering Officers at the Constituency Registration Centres on Tuesdays or Wednesdays between 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.