Barbados Election: Can There Be True Democracy When Voters’ Names Are On Their Ballots?

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Barbados Election Process Allows Government To Identify Citizens’ Votes

Now before we have the first silly comment that Barbados does not require that a voter’s name be written on the back of the ballot, we will state that it is the voter’s National Identification Number (NID) that is on the back of the ballot.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is for all intents and purposes the same as writing the voter’s name on the ballot. It is even better because although two voters might share the same name, they will never have the same NID.

I remember reading an old copy of LIFE Magazine from the 1946 or so post-war era. (I tried to find it online, but couldn’t. Maybe one of our readers will be more successful.) The article showed occupying governments teaching young German students about democracy. After being raised under a German totalitarian regime, the teenagers couldn’t understand why in post-war West Germany they were not required to write their names on their voting ballots as had been the case when any “voting” had been done in their time – even voting in school for a football captain, etc.

They had trouble grasping the concept of how secret voting supports a free democracy.

I am disturbed that more Barbadians are not concerned about the integrity of our flawed system of voting.

David at Barbados Underground has written an excellent article on this subject. Well worth your time…

Barbados Underground: Barbados Electoral System Comes Under The Microscope

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23 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

23 responses to “Barbados Election: Can There Be True Democracy When Voters’ Names Are On Their Ballots?

  1. Anon...

    Does the constitution require that you present your NID at the poll?

  2. baje

    When election day is here, check each candiate for his/her list. This list is normally persons who voted for them last election.

    Every notice when each party is sending out invatations for their functions, they send to their party loyals.

    This practice was going on in Barbados for a long time and in my mind it needs to be abolish. This invades each voter privacy.
    I was waiting to air my findings on one of the call-ins, but i’ll have to wait until it’s back on the air.

    Had enough of them lying. Their false polls, I wouldn’t even want to start ’bout de stealing.

    2008 is soon upon us with a pending election hope all we bajan people go out and vote.

    Merry Christmas and i hope it would be a Dem New Year.

    ************

    BFP edited this post for inappropriate comments.

  3. Eyebother

    the numbering of ballots with data which could identify them to voters began in the era of Tom Adams. But I’ve always thought this was merely to intimidate people. Never underestimate the laziness and incompetence of those who might be tasked with matching names to ballots– it just wouldnt happen for the tens of thousands of voters who would have to be tracked. It would be a major operation on the data entry front alone, let alone analysis.

  4. Anonymous

    Where are Jimmy Carter and the other U.N. election observers staying?
    I presume we’re having observers?

    If we don’t have election observers,
    then this election is ALREADY null and void.

    THERE WILL BE ATTEMPTS AT FRAUD.

    I leave it up to your imagination as to which side will be machinating!

  5. Anonymous

    what happens to the vote on the front of the ballot paper
    if i obliterate the ID data on the back of the ballot?does that spoil the vote?? surely, after they validate who you are upon entering the voting station all they need to do is hand you a genuine barbados government issued ballot paper with their rubber stamp on the back. your personal ID number on the reverse of the ballot very much screws up the democratic concept of anonymous voting and is therefore UNdemocratic!
    and we put up with this?

  6. Waterboy

    Anon… Says:
    Does the constitution require that you present your NID at the poll?

    Posted on December 23, 2007 at 9:32 pm
    ————————————————————————-

    Anon, I speak under correction but the constitution does not requre presentation of the Barbados ID or any ID. The electoral officials have their file copy of your photo and data at the polling station and they verify everyone whether they prsent ID or not.

    I think we have a good system and electoral officials wirh integrity. Not to say that we do not need to be vigilant.

  7. Just Waiting

    I had noticed this a long time ago and was annoyed more than anything else. Since I am a small fish with an even smaller bank account and have never receive a political handout, I could care less if they found out how I voted.
    I seem to remember having to place the ballot in the box in front of the officials so stuffing the boxes would be highly unlikely at the individual level.
    If each ballot has a unique number and the total number of ballots is known; why should one’s national id number be recorded?
    You are only given a ballot after you name is found on the register and your identity is verified. The emphasis should be on keeping the voter’s list clean and ensuring that a person is only able to vote once.
    No other records other than you having been at the polling station, receiving a ballot and placing one (it) in the box should be kept.
    Who will change this practice?

  8. Anon...

    Anon…here again: What are the provisions, if any, for Nationals residing overseas, ie., Absentee Ballots, etc.? Further this GIS Press Release seems to imply that if you have not, as a National, resided in Barbados in the prior 3 years you are ineligible to vote. Can anyone confirm this for me? Thanks!

    http://www.barbados.gov.bb/ViewNews.asp?ID=5972&Dat=12/20/2007

  9. Jerome Hinds

    George Belle is a BLP pimp. It would be interesting to find out how much he was paid for this propaganda exercise.

    A few months ago 2 banks in Bridgetown were hounding him down to settle his Credit Card Debts.

    I am not at all surprise that he finds COST OF LIVING as the most important concern among the electorate in his poll !!!!!

    This poll exercise was designed to give him some money…….and TRY and confuse BAJANS.

    However, what George Belle could not change was the fact that :

    *** The % of BAJANS wanting change in gov’t is growing !

    NOW….53 %

    *** The % SWING against the BLP is growing !

    NOW…..7.9 %

    *** The DLP is RAPIDLY closing the gap between the BEES !

    NOW ONLY…….5 % difference !

    George Belle is an advisor to Owen Arthur as Chairman of the Pan African Commission which falls under the Office of the Prime Minister.

  10. young one

    Jerome Hinds, it’s ppl like you that pullin this country down. what does the man’s debts have to do with a poll? and can’t the same be said for for the persons who’s poll you are pulling your numbers from. really really sad.

    *******************

    BFP Answers for Jerome…

    If a man has uncontrolled debts and has not been successful in his private life, why should he be trusted with the public purse?

  11. Amconcerned

    Please Mr Chairman of the Electoral Office or the appropriate official: Is it not a violation of our constitutional rights to have your identity available on the ballot ? This ia a very serious matter, when you take into account the fact that most elected officials get involved in the job selection and promotion process of gov employees (which should be a function of Services Commission, but is not). Also remember that (out of the mouth of the said officials) Douglas L. Phillips would not be hired by the BLP, neither would Beresford L. Phillips by the DLP. I do have evidence that they check the ballots: I was told personnaly by a representative about my support. I have never alligned myself to any party in anyway, do not attend any type of meetings – public or otherwise. Yet I was told point blank who I supported. The frightening thing was – he was correct and he knew it.

  12. gunslinger

    not only your ID # but yr ballot is torn out of a book, yr ballot and the stub in the book having corresponding #s – yr name is on the stub. you can be traced.
    i used to get mataerial from a certain party, last election i did not vote for that party – i stopped getting matarial from them and got a birthday card from the other. i was traced.
    last election an ex cricketer made a noise about this and he was hushed up and brushed under the carpet.
    BAJANS WAKE UP

  13. Once a BEE

    I don’t give a dam who know who I vote for? If the purpose is to victimise…they can’t victimise all of us!!!1

  14. This blog and the observations of the bloggers clearly indicates how flawed our electoral system is and by extension our system of governance. If Bajans were to make a serious noise and make this an issue, do you know how long it would take to effect some kind of change. We may have to use the Ombudsman or our individual representative or whoever else, then a draft paper would be requested from the Chairman of the Electoral and Boundaries Committee, then the necessary legal drafts and amendments, then onto Parliament for the Lower and Upper Chambers. We talking donkey years here for simply correcting abuse of democratic and voter rights. Let us hope that the new Government of the DLP will make every effort possible to swiftly correct this rot and in the process get rid of Jimmy Serrao.

  15. Bimbro

    I do have evidence that they check the ballots: I was told personnaly by a representative about my support. I have never alligned myself to any party in anyway, do not attend any type of meetings – public or otherwise. Yet I was told point blank who I supported. The frightening thing was – he was correct and he knew it.

    ********************************

    The ‘checkmate’ argument against any idiot who may have supported such a procedure, before!!!! i.e. of including any identifying mark on the ballot!!!!

  16. Bimbro

    Once a BEE
    December 26, 2007 at 11:48 pm
    I don’t give a dam who know who I vote for? If the purpose is to victimise…they can’t victimise all of us!!!1

    ********************************

    Is this person sane, nevermind, serious!!!!

    You, want to be victimised, do you!!!!?!!!

  17. Bimbro

    Let us hope that the new Government of the DLP will make every effort possible to swiftly correct this rot and in the process get rid of Jimmy Serrao.

    *************************

    Or, WHICHEVER, government, will do the decent thing and bin this undemocratic, practice!!!!

  18. when the Labour Party is allowed to dominate Parliament”, Arthur said.

    Please tell me what is this man on ???
    Rum or just an EGO trip with his use of power someone better grab him by his shirt tails and keep him on the ground.

    It reeks with ARROGANCE here again, but that is what we have seen with 15 year old administrations, gross contempt and arrogance seeps in.

  19. Rumplestilskin

    Ah. ‘Democracy’ is a funny word. Much spouted by the esteemed pres of the USA.

    Clinton knew the meaning of democracy. But to the current North American administration democracy is a word to be used to describe one’s friends, irrespective of their behaviour.

    It will be interesting to see if they continue to mollycoddle the dictator Musharraf, in the light of the murder of Bhutto.

    Musharraf has called for three days of mourning. What a joke.

    The very one who has caused the problems, that she had to return to fight for the rights of Judges, lawyers and the common citizen, because of Musharraf, nevertheless he is still supported by the great north.

    Democracy. Where the free and fairly elected Presidents in South America, are pilloried for their beliefs in reform of public policy to accomodate the common man in society, to ensure that all get a fair break in eduaction and healthcare.

    May I suggest a practical meaning of democracy for today?

    Democracy – the state of affairs where a government supports capitalism and the intersts of a few at any cost, irrespective of that governments own record on human rights, civil freedoms and governance.

    The only saving grace is that the Almighty knows all. The bank of karma is being drawn heavily by some. Payback, even if in the next incarnation, will be tough.

    Peace.

  20. Anon...

    BFP, where is your coverage of Bhutto?

  21. Rumplestilskin

    And as such, Barbados is transforming well to the ‘new definition’ of democracy, in that the current administration supports capitalism, at the expense of the average citizen.

    Such is exhibited by the lack of regard to standard of living and availability of necessities such as availability of land and cost of housing.

    Little regard to opportunities for the average man in terms of the status quo being that a few major monopolies control the economy which is in of itself accepted internationally as being an unfavourable status.

    Little regard for healthcare with the only hospital being in tremendous need of resources.

    Lip service so late in the current term, let alone the 15 years that this administration has governed, does little to assuage the sensibilities against the travesty of inappropriate allocation of resources.

    Where are the actions? Where are the results?

    Peace.

  22. Hants

    Arthur termed Mascoll a “gift”, adding “I did not obviously expect to be at this vantage point. I could never have imagined that I would now be seeking a fourth term with Clyde Mascoll as a very important part of the BLP team.

    Gems….Jaws…. You were oh so lucky Mr.Prime Minister.