Four pieces of legislation provide the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) with its legal and constitutional authority to conduct elections. They are:
- the Representation of the People Act Chap. 2:01 of the laws of Trinidad and Tobago
- the Elections and Boundaries Commission (Local Government) Act, Chap. 25:50
- the Municipal Corporations Act, 1990
- the Elections and Boundaries Commission (Local Government and Tobago House of Assembly Act No. 40 of 1996
The Commission comprises a Chairman and not less than two or more than four Commissioners who are appointed by the President of the Republic after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. These appointments are for five years in the first instance but under the Constitution, the appointees are eligible for reappointment.
Responsible for setting its own agenda, the Commission gives policy directions to the staff headed by a Chief Election Officer. Some members of staff are appointed by the Public Service Commission (PSC) but the Commission is authorized to recruit on a short-term basis, other persons to perform functions that are largely related to registration of electors, administrative preparations for the conduct of elections and field operations throughout Trinidad and Tobago. Some members of staff are employed on contract.
The process of registration is voluntary, personal and permanent and no one is under any legal obligation to register. The system is described as permanent, in that once a registration is completed it remains on the records of the Commission unless circumstances arise warranting its cancellation. (See Registration Process for more details)
The structure of the EBC is based principally on a Central Electoral Office located at headquarters in Port of Spain, Fourteen (14) Registration Area Offices and four (4) sub Offices. These offices are conveniently located throughout the country where persons can register to obtain their National Identification Cards and have their names included on the list of eligible electors subject to certain qualifying criteria.