Central Voting Bureau proposes postponement of Election Day

Central Voting Bureau proposes  postponement of Election Day

PHILIPSBURG—In a letter to Prime minister Luc Mercelina, the Central Voting Bureau has announced a proposed postponement of Election Day to August 19, 2024, citing significant legal and practical concerns. The Bureau has suggested a revised timeline to ensure a fair, free, and transparent electoral process.



The revised election timeline, as proposed by the Central Voting Bureau:

· Voter Registry Closure: Monday, June 3, 2024

· Deadline for Registration of Political Parties: Monday, June 17, 2024

· Postulation Day: Tuesday, July 2, 2024

· Election Day: Monday, August 19, 2024

· Assembly of New Parliament: Friday, September 20, 2024

On May 21, 2024, a National Decree was signed calling for new elections under Article 59 of the Constitution, which mandates a three-month timeframe. The Central Voting Bureau, however, expressed concerns about the feasibility of adhering to this strict timeline without compromising the electoral process's integrity.

The Bureau emphasized the need for professional and independent legal advice to support their position. The primary concern revolves around the registration of political parties, which is considered a critical component of the electoral process. Without sufficient time for new political parties to register, the exercise of passive voting rights could be hindered.

The Central Voting Bureau has identified several key issues with the current election timeline. Firstly, the timeline does not provide adequate time for new political parties to register, which limits voters' choices and compromises democratic principles. Secondly, the three-month timeframe conflicts with several procedural requirements, risking deviations that could undermine the election's integrity. Lastly, the Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) and the Civil Registry face significant logistical and operational challenges, including staff shortages and overlapping commitments with other major events.

The Bureau highlighted that previous election-related issues in 2017 and 2019 necessitated adjustments to timelines. They argue that extending the current timeline is essential to ensure a fair and transparent election.

The Central Voting Bureau's proposal aims to balance the legal requirements with practical realities, ensuring a robust and inclusive electoral process. They hope the government will consider these adjustments to uphold democratic principles and public trust.

For more detailed analysis and legal advice, the Bureau has included a report by Prof. dr. Arjen van Rijn as an exhibit in their communication with the Prime Minister.

The board of the Central Voting Bureau stated in is letter to Prime minister Mercelina that the members are looking forward to constructive consultation and cooperation to ensure the integrity of the upcoming elections.


The Daily Herald

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