The Final Stretch

I always found it peculiar that upon entering the classroom turned polling station, to vote at a neighborhood school, on Election Day, my full maiden name, ID, address and birth date along with the place of birth were read aloud for the committee seated at the official table to hear.

They all ogled me with great interest, repeated all particular details, examined my paperwork, and proceeded to check me off a list, and hand me a legal ballot.

The set up at election day is always the same, a group of assorted party members hanging at the gate, easily identifiable by their political affiliations emblazoned on tee shirts and caps. Then a similar group hanging around the classroom windows, eyeballing the goings-on inside, then the wall to wall committee members inside, this year as many as TWELVE, one rep per party, seated at the long table to verify I am me, that I am not dead and indeed legally eligible to vote.

The full maiden name, ID, address, birth date along with the place of birth, derived from computer lists, each of the observers had his own copy, then they could check me off.

Voters’ Registrations.

While they were available to all parties before with detailed personal info, it was decided this year, no more, it was an invasion of privacy. Voters’ information will be protected from now on.

Apparently, we can identify ourselves with our carchi, mailed ahead of time to home addresses and with a legal document. No more date of birth read out aloud, relief.

While privacy watchdogs loved it, the green party did not. I was vaguely aware of the fact that their computer genius, a long time party devotee, was mining the info, using it perhaps, this is speculation, to organize transportation to carless voters, or grant other benefits, not sure, but I was aware of the fact that those lists were being used.

Mike Eman sent me a printed, full color, signed, Christmas card each year, with the correct spelling of my name, to the correct address.

So they went to court. The verdict was announced yesterday. Both sides won, because a judge in the First Court of Instance in Aruba ruled that the Government of Aruba and the Electoral Council must concede to the demands of political parties to be granted a printed copy of the voter registry, in accordance with article 10 of the national ordinance for elections.

The ruling HOWEVER restricted the data to be supplied to be limited to only two columns, namely the polling station and the voter’s name.

Partial data will be released today, in print form, no digital access, enough to help identify me, yet my date of birth remains confidential, and private.

I called the computer genius, the longtime party devotee, to solicit a reaction but he was not in a chatty mood. We can still work with the info we have, he said.

FYI: There are 2 mobile polling stations for locals in care facilities for the elderly or people with disabilities and special needs; the government has indicated to NOT want to allow political parties to provide free pickup services for those requiring a ride, a traditional service provided by political parties in the past, that warranted knowing in advance where the voters live, in order to develop logistical planning of pickup services.

I believe in our ability to hold free, fair and transparent elections, with our own observers, for a smooth electoral processes for the parliamentary elections on Aruba, on Friday, June 25, 2021.

The ban on alcohol runs from Thursday 6pm to Saturday 6am.

 

 

 

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June 24, 2021
Rona Coster