Letters & Opinion

2021 Election Speedometer Part:1 Counting the days – and the numbers…

By Earl Bousquet

In 16 days, voters will head to the polls in the island’s first General Elections under COVID and the 10th since Independence — and it’ll be interesting to see how the numbers game plays out this time.

In 2016, the officially registered population was 182,273 with 161,883 Registered Voters.

Although 86,525 votes were cast, only 84,302 were valid, representing a 53.4% turnout, of which UWP won 46,165 (54.7%) and the SLP got 37,172 (44.09%) – a difference of 8,993.

The UWP has won six of the General Elections since 1979 (two in 1987) and the SLP four.

But since 2007, voters here have been returning remarkably similar results – Regine Change after each election (2007, 2011 and 2016) and giving each new government the same 11-6 margin.

Elections engineers and statisticians are divided on whether this is enough to represent ‘an established trend’, or just ‘a repeated coincidence’.

But just COVID and demographics have both changed, everything else — including the 2021 elections — will certainly see a larger number of voters registered, especially among youth and first-time voters.

Meanwhile, with virtually everyone involved playing the proverbial electoral numbers game, those who normally wax warmly continue to forge and sculpt phrases and adjectives, playing Chinese checkers with arithmetic sums and mathematical equations, even combining hashtags, alphabets and letters to script encrypted online support messages.

But with more than just votes at stake in the next election, the names and numbers can very well be quite different come Nomination and Election Days, when all sides will not only be concentrating on dotting all i’s and crossing all t’s, but also on counting and repeatedly re-counting, as if arithmetic counts more than mathematics and statistics are nothing but (the other side’s) lies told with nice or ugly numbers and percentage points.

The bell has rung; now for the players to roll the dice…

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