Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Francine Baron has made it clear that there is no record of fraudulent voting in Dominica.
She made that remark while addressing a Panel Discussion on electoral reform held at the Goodwill Parish Hall on Wednesday.
There have been a number of recommendations, ways in which the government can improve the country’s electoral process. Some relate to the issue of the introduction of Identification (ID) Cards to be used for voting, the revision of the register of electors and campaign finance reform, among others.
“It is important to note however, that there is no record of fraudulent voting in Dominica,” Baron stated. “And that fact has been noted by observers in their report.”
However, she said the government accepted, that in keeping with international best practice, it was advisable that identification cards be issued for voting.
“There has been an ongoing attempt since 2011 to introduce identification cards for voting,” she explained.
Baron explained further that it was decided earlier on that the multi-purpose identification card proposed by the OECS, would be used for voting once it was issued under the direction of the Electoral Commission.
“Funds were requested by the Commission and made available by the government for that process,” she indicated.
Baron went on to say that it is important to point out that the electoral system that’s in place today is the same system that has been in place since independence in 1978.
“That system has returned credible elections every single time,” she stated. “There have been deficiencies identified as is the case in any country, including developed countries like the United States, but overall, electoral observers invited by the government for the last two elections have pronounced our elections as credible.”
Baron continued, “Nevertheless to avoid incidents of impersonation where persons pretend to be persons they are not, it had been recommended that ID cards should be introduced for voting.
Meantime, in reference to objection by the opposition to the verification of overseas-based voters by the Electoral Commission, Baron suggested that not to do would be to disenfranchise these voters.
She said the right to vote is a “fundamental right” and it is a principle that’s recognized by Dominica’s courts.
“The right to vote is a fundamental right that cannot and should not easily be taken away,” Baron insisted.