Juliette Penn, the supervisor of elections, said she expects government will call a by-election to fill the late Delores Christopher’s Fifth District seat.

Ms. Penn, however, noted last week that she hasn’t received any definite word from the leaders of government, and Premier Dr. Orlando Smith did not respond to requests for comment from the Beacon about the issue.

Ms. Christopher was the first sitting legislator to die in office for more than a decade.

At-large representative Paul Wattley, who was elected in 2003, was the minister of communications and works when he died suddenly on July 5, 2005. In a by-election held on Sept. 5, 2005, Elmore Stoutt was chosen to fill his seat.

The Elections Act, 2003 allows House of Assembly seats to be vacant only for two months, according to Ms. Penn.

Still, she explained, the law is silent regarding what to do when someone dies in office.

The supervisor said she plans to propose additions to the next amendment to the Elections Act that would address the matter.

The issue is complicated by the looming general elections, which are constitutionally due by Aug. 23, 2019.


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