KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) has confirmed that Jamaicans without a Voter Identification (ID) Card will be allowed to cast their ballot in the September 3 general election.
But EOJ director of elections, Glasspole Brown, said they would only be allowed to vote once their names can be found on the official Voters’ List.
“They can turn up to the polling station on Election Day and they will be allowed to vote. The difference is that they will be required to take an oath. We have a mechanism within the polling stations to identify them,” Browne told the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
He said that for persons with Voter ID cards with expiry dates of 2017 and 2019, these remain valid.
“We had extended the validation period to the end of December. All you need to do is come to the polling station with that card and those cards will be used as part of the process to identify you,” Brown said.
The EOJ began the Voter ID card renewal process in November of last year and individuals who have been previously registered to vote but lost their Voter ID cards are being encouraged to apply for a replacement at their EOJ Constituency Office.
As it relates to new persons, who were placed on the Voters’ List published on July 31, Brown advised that “those cards are about ready and they should go to their (EOJ) Constituency Offices and pick up the new cards”.
Both the rukling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) are both predicting victory in the election. In the 2016 poll, the JLP won by a one seat margin in the 63-seat Parliament, but later increased that to three after winning two-bye elections.
Meanwhile, the Jamaica Debates Commission (JDC) says there will be no in-studio audience for the three political debates scheduled as part of the campaign for the election.
The debates, finalised over the last weekend during a meeting with representatives of the two major political parties, will be held on August 25, 27 and 29th and will be of 90 minutes duration.
JDC chairman, Noel Dacosta said the Commission is finalizing arrangements for the debate, given the limited time before the general election.
The first debate, which will be a team effort, will be on social issues, the second will be on finance and economics and the third, on leadership.
The JDC said that the PNP will have the opening presentation in all three debates and the ruling party giving the closing statements.