The Supervisor of Elections Dudley Lewis has advised that preparations for possible by-elections began in December 2012 when the election petitions were raised.
As with all elections the procedure is as follows:
• The governor will issue a writ for the holding of by-elections within 35 days of receiving notice from the judge indicating that the seat has been vacated.
• The writ will specify the day and place of nomination of candidates which should be no less than 14 working days after it has been issued.
• In accordance with the Elections Ordinance, the date of the by-elections will be no more than 21 days from the date of nomination. Given the above calculations, by-elections could be held by the last week in March 2013. If by-elections are to be held before March 31, 2013, the 2012 electors register will be used. If by-elections are held after March 31, 2013, the new register will be used.
• In response to complaints in the last elections, the Elections Office will employ additional staff for each polling station, and increased the number of polling areas.
• To speed up the process electors will not be required to return to the presiding officer for verification of signature on the ballot instead will deposit the marked ballot in the boxes provided to ensure the secrecy of their vote. Voters will be required to have their finger inked to indicate that they have voted.
• Please note that as of November 9, every employer MUST allow electors in his or her employ reasonable time for voting. Electors are reminded that proof of identification is required. These include the TCI status card, passport, NIB card, NHIP card or drivers licence.
• Nomination packs have also been prepared and will be issued to the candidates. Voter education materials and sessions will also be carried out.