They came out by the thousands to cast their votes as Bermudians stamped a resounding ‘no/no’ on their ballots to reject same-sex marriages and civil unions in Bermuda. But at the end of the day $350,000 of taxpayer money was spent for a nonbinding result that is also invalid.
The results were disseminated at 4:10am this morning. Some At the 20,804 out of 44,367 registered voters, cast ballots, representing a 46.89% turn out which falls short of the required 50% turn out needed to produce a valid referendum result.
Parliamentary Registrar, Tenia Woolridge said, “The overall turnout for the referendum was less than 50 per cent.
“Based on the Referendum Act 2012, a referendum question shall be taken to be unanswered if less than 50 per cent of the persons registered in the parliamentary register vote at the referendum.”
She noted that a notice will be published in the official gazette early next week. In the interim the results of the questions in each region can be found at elections.gov.bm.
After all was said and done however, the final turnout of 46.89% is below the 50% requirement to make the referendum valid.
Some 14,192 voters opposed same-sex marriage, while 6,514 voted in favour of it. And 63 per cent voted against civil unions in the second question.
The referendum drew criticism in some circles because the final decision is nonbinding. Premier Michael Dunkley was chastised for what some critics described as a colossal waste of $350,000 of the taxpayers’ money.
This was the first referendum to be held in this country since Bermudians were asked to vote for or against independence 21 years ago.
The final result in that poll after 22,236 votes were cast, 74 per cent of the voters said ‘no’ to independence for Bermuda. That referendum also marked the end of Sir John Swan’s premiership.
Meanwhile, Acting Deputy Opposition Leader & Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, Walter Roban said the turnout was less than desirable. But he said: “Bermudians of all walks of life came out and voted in this referendum.
“The result was a solid ‘No’ to both referendum questions, despite the turnout being less than desirable.”
He also challenged the governement “to lead this country to heal from the divisiveness that has permeated our community for the last few months”.
“We must unite and come together and heal our divisions,” said Mr Roban. “There was much energy expended on this issue by both sides.
“We hope that all of these voices will continue to use their energies into also fighting for other issues facing Bermudians – gun and gang violence, racial inequality, economic inequality, immigration, joblessness, education, among others.
“To fulfill our destiny, we need all hands on deck and much too often, we sit in our silos and only fight for isolated causes,” Mr Roban said.
“With respect to the specific issues of same sex marriage and civil unions, regardless of what side was supported, we must respect the result delivered by those that participated. We wait to hear from our government how Bermuda will move forward on these issues. There is much healing that must come after this referendum period.”
By Ceola Wilson
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