Grenada criminalises the use of electronic devices at polling booths

Grenada criminalises the use of electronic devices at polling booths

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) — The Grenada Parliament today approved an amendment to the People’s Representation legislation that will, among other things, criminalize going into a polling booth on any polling day with any electronic devices, with special emphasis on cellular phones and digital cameras.

“No person shall have in his or her possession any electronic device upon entering a polling booth to cast his or her ballot on polling day,” said the amendment to the Representation of the People’s legislation.

It recommended that “a person who has an electronic device in his or her possession shall upon entering the polling station on polling day, hand over the electronic device to the returning officer or his or her designate.

Anyone violating the law is liable on summary conviction to a fine of EC$5,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) or to a term of imprisonment for six months.

Leader of Government Business, Gregory Bowen, said the legislation also increases the deposit fee from EC$300 to EC$500 for any person nominated to contest a general election.

Government legislator, Anthony Boatswain said that the fee should have been increased to EC$1,000 adding: “I believe we should look at a high quantum, we need to show the seriousness about this exercise”.

The amendment, which was approved in a special sitting of the House, also provides for candidates to vote in a constituency where he or she is not registered but is a candidate on the ballot paper.

Bowen said that sometimes a candidate contesting a particular constituency may be registered in another constituency and the amendment is to give the person the opportunity to vote where they are contesting.

“However, it must be done within the guidelines of the law,” he added.

The legislation notes that a person who has been nominated and who intends to vote in a constituency other than the constituency in which his or her name appears on the official list of electors shall complete the necessary documents and return them to the supervisor of elections at least seven days before the election.

The legislation must now be approved by the Senate before becoming law.

Grenadian’s will vote in a national referendum on November 6 to determine whether or not to replace the London-based Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the island’s final court.

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