Choose wisely

People who did not receive their voting cards yet need to go and collect them at the Government Administration (see related story) if they want to make use of their democratic right on Thursday. Many may have moved due to the impact of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017, without changing their address at the Civil Registry.

Keep in mind that this was already a problem for the most recent election in February 2018, when 2,272 cards were returned by Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS). Compared to that this year’s 1,420 undeliverable cards may be considered an improvement, but it’s still a significant part (about 6 per cent) of the in total 23,130 eligible voters, good for at least one of the 15 Parliament seats in contention.

Voter turnouts have steadily declined since country status was achieved with 71 per cent in 2010, 69 in 2014, 65 in 2016 and 62 a year ago, although that was probably exceptionally low due to the post-Irma emergency conditions that still existed on the island. The last two were also premature elections, as is now again the case.

Using the 2016 turnout as benchmark it would take about 1,002 votes to earn a first seat, before parties even qualify for possible residual seats. With a total of 112 candidates on seven lists, by far the most will be helping others rather than themselves get voted into office, despite their individual political ambitions.

There is not that much ideological difference between the parties, so it’s more about the persons and what they stand for. Select from those who can be expected to truly serve the general interest and not just that of some, often including their own.

Choose wisely and – above all – don’t make the mistake of letting others decide for you.