Why does electoral roll include occupation?

| 10/05/2016

Why is there an “occupation” column for registered voters? Why does that nondescript identifier matter to anyone? Is that for corrupt campaign managers so they can more easily identify who can be bought or not?

Auntie’s answer: I can understand your cynicism since over the years I have heard the whispers, and often shouts, up and down the Marl Road about what a refrigerator or other major appliance can secure in the way of votes. But in this case, I am not able to confirm any conspiracy theory linking corrupt campaign managers to the electoral roll.

I once again reached out to the good folks at the Elections Office, who once again could not have been more helpful. As you know, the voters’ list contains the name, occupation and address of those who are registered electors. This system has been in place for decades.

And the reason could not be simpler – it is purely to ensure proper identification. There is no arguing that certain surnames are very common here. As it was explained to me, there can easily be two people with the same name, but most likely they would not share the same address, so that is one way to differentiate them.

However – and this has happened – what if there is a father and son on the list who are a senior and junior and they live together? The next identifier would be their occupation, which should clear up any confusion.

There have also been cases of four or five people sharing the same name, and having an address and an occupation listed by each would clarify identities.

Of course, since anyone can access the list, no one can say for sure that one’s name, address and occupation will not be used for nefarious reasons, but when the register was first initiated, it was just done to know exactly who was who.

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Cannot see why private details about an elector are on the website of the elections office. Breach of fundamental right to privacy.. no country in the world has so much information about persons who register to vote on their elections office website.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The end of Auntie’s answer leads to the next social discussion we need to have, after the election. How should the electoral rolls be handled? The ‘old’ system had its reasons but is it still the right system? Obviously ‘fraud’ has increased and for those people not on Facebook, etc., it might be an issue. But equally the importance of anyone being able to check everyone that is voting cannot be overstated as a check/balance to ensure that the rolls are right. At times individuals have to exercise their civic duty to ensure that freedom remains. And that might mean taking a glance through the election list and seeing if your friends, family, enemies are, or are not, on there as appropriate. Mistakes can happen.