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HISTORY OF THE ELECTORAL DEPARTMENT


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An Office of the Chief Registering Officer, headed by the Local Commissioner, Mr. Crichlow Matthews was established in the 1960's to administer Local Governement Elections and to conduct General Elections.

In 1966, a house-to-house survey was conducted throughout the island. The Department acquired some Willson Indentograph Cameras, which took black and white photographs and Mr. Eric Gibbs, Mr. Valdemar Millington and others spearheaded a program for the production of the Barbados Identification (ID) Card. A pilot scheme was carried out with the Port Authority, the Sanitation Service Authority and the District Hospitals.

In 1969 the first ID Cards were issued for the By-Election in the Constituency of Bridgetown. In September, 1969, Mr. Dennis Smith was appointed as Chief Registering Officer. Camera Centres were established throughout the island in various constituencies and ID Cards were issued Island-wide.

On April 1, 1971, the name of the Chief Registering Officer was changed to Chief Electoral Officer, and the Electoral Department was established and headed by the first Chief Electoral Officer, Mr. Dennis Smith. The Office was then situated at "Verona House", Bank Hall, St. Michael. In September of the same year, General Elections were held with the Chief Electoral Officer as the Supervisor of Elections and ID Cards were used for the first General Elections at which persons eighteen years of age, were allowed to vote.

In 1972, a Senior Photographer and other personnel were appointed to the Department which was relocated to the National Insurance Building, Fairchild Street, Bridgetown, from where the Septemeber 2, 1976 General Elections were conducted.

With the assistance of the Data Processing and Statistical Service Departments, the national Registration System and the Voters Registration System were computerized from April 1, 1989 and ID cards were issued with coloured photographs.

In January 2001, a Genicom printer was used to print the Register of Electors/Voters list; however, it was for the St. Thomas By-Election of September 21, 2001 that the Department printed the Register of Electors without the assistance of the Data Processing Department, for the first time.

In 2009, digital cameras were introduced and with the use of laptop computers, the computerizing of the registration service from Constituency Registration Centres began. This was followed with the introduction of digital signature pads in February 2010.

CHIEF ELECTORAL OFFICERS

Mr. Dennis Smith

1971-1991

Mr. Edwin Stroude

1992-1994

Mrs. Mersada Elcock

1994-1996

Mr. Hensley Robinson

1996-2001

Mr. Godfrey Hinds

2001-2002

Mr. Hensley Robinson

2002-2004

Mrs. Angela Taylor

2005-present

DEPUTY CHIEF ELECTORAL OFFICERS

Mrs. Mersada Elcock

1987-1994

Mr. Hensley Robinson

1994-1996

Mr. Andrew Jones

1996-1998

Mr. Donville Johnson

1998-2006

Mr. Arthur Holder

2003-2004

Mr. Ian Browne

2004-Present