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Bermuda plans to celebrate universal adult suffrage

  • Universal Suffrage Event at City Hall. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The 50th anniversary of the island’s first election under universal adult suffrage will be commemorated next week.

Island residents will be invited to cast a vote of thanks at City Hall on Tuesday to mark the General Election held on May 22, 1968.

Glenn Fubler, organiser of the event, said yesterday that the milestone represented the “transformation of Bermuda into a democratic jurisdiction”.

Mr Fubler said: “We are here to celebrate and appreciate all those on whose shoulders we stand.”

He was speaking at an event held at City Hall to mark the evolution of democracy on the island.

John Swan, the former premier, said the event was about recognition of all those that played a part in the change, including the legislators who steered the change through the House of Assembly five decades ago.

Mr Swan said: “That was not easy for them.”

The property-owning qualification for voters was dropped in 1963.

The Parliamentary Election Act also raised the voting age from 21 to 25 and property owners were given an additional vote.

The General Election of 1968 was the first under universal adult suffrage as the additional vote for property owners was scrapped and the voting age dropped to 21.

Bill Zuill, executive director at the Bermuda National Trust, said the organisation was “honoured” to be part of the event.

Mr Zuill added that the BNT would be holding an exhibition opening on Tuesday night “where the full span of Bermuda suffrage” would be on display.

He said the organisation hoped some of the votes of thanks cast would also be displayed at the event, which will be held at the Chubb Gallery on Woodbourne Avenue in Hamilton.

Carolyn Thomas Ray of the Human Rights Commission encouraged all members of the public to attend the show.

Mr Fubler said that the event was designed to mark the past, but was also about working towards “a better Bermuda tomorrow”.

Votes of thanks can be cast at City Hall between noon and 2pm on Tuesday.

There will also be ballot boxes in the East and West Ends this weekend for those unable to attend.

One box will be at All Talk located on York Street, St George’s. The other will be at Caesar’s Pharmacy on Somerset Road.