Benoit: Do not look at the list

Judy Benoit cautions against the online list

The Parliamentary Elections Office has distanced itself from a voter registration list published on the Internet.

At a news conference held last week Friday, Supervisor of Elections, Judy Benoit made it clear that “the list was not put there by the parliamentary elections office”.

She said that she received calls from citizens who expressed concern that their private information were published online, but made it clear to them that “the office is not associated with this publication in any way”.

Benoit told the media that she discussed the issue with Attorney-General, Rohan Phillip, but was told that there is nothing in the Constitution barring the publishing of the list online therefore there is no legal course that can be taken against the publishers.

The Opposition New National Party (NNP) is one of the political parties that has an online copy of the list on its Internet sites:

However, the Supervisor is advising eligible voters to check the official lists published by the Parliamentary Elections Office to verify their information or to contact the office for official information.

She warned that the office cannot verify the contents of the lists online, as they do not know if changes were made to the list.

Benoit also told reporters it is unfortunate that some Grenadians failed to register within the stipulated time to become eligible to vote in the February 19 General Election.

The Supervisor who recently returned on the job from medical leave following a mild stroke last year said, “people choose to wait” which resulted in long lines shortly after the election date was announced by Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and subsequently the writ for the elections being issued by Governor General, Sir Carlyle Glean.

Her response was in connection to scores of Grenadians who rushed to get registered before midnight last week Wednesday.

According to Benoit, it was unfortunate that several Grenadians had to be turned back without being registered, as the system would have shown that they were registered after the stipulated time to be eligible to vote.

She disclosed that between Sunday and midnight on Wednesday of last week, approximately 2000 persons were registered in time to be on the final Voter’s list.

The Supervisor of Elections spoke of being satisfied that the office had met the target of 60,000 registered voters.

Benoit commended her staff for their services particularly over the last few days of registration, which saw them in offices throughout the country up to midnight in an effort to accommodate registration.

She said the Electoral Office cannot promise that every registered voter will receive their identification cards in time for election day, but assured the nation that her office will do all in its power to issue as much cards as possible.

She is also appealing to persons registered early but who did not receive their ID’s to check with the various offices to collect their cards.

The Supervisor said that their main priority right now is to focus on printing and issuing cards.

However, she is appealing to registered voters to check the lists to ensure that their names are listed and that the information listed is correct.

Benoit stressed that the office is 95% ready for the task ahead (Election Day) and that the hardest part of their job is to ensure that all eligible registered citizens are properly listed.

Regarding concerns about missing names on the list, the Supervisor of Elections pointed out that on her return to work earlier this month from her illness, she was informed about the complaints but was able to verify that the names that were removed were sent back for correction.

“They were not actually missing”, she said, “they are in the system, the people are registered but it’s just a matter of those that had errors were sent back for correction and the last list happened to be printed before these names were actually sent back in the corrected form”.

Both the two main political parties in Grenada – The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New National Party (NNP) have raised concerns regarding names omitted from the electoral list.

Benoit reiterated that within days of her return to office, the names were corrected and put back on the list.

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