Sat | May 27, 2017

Registering to Vote ... get your name on the list

Published:Wednesday | September 2, 2015 | 9:00 AM
Heather Hibbert (left) and Sheniek Frazer show off their inked fingers at the Yallahs Primary School polling station after casting their votes in Western St Thomas on election day, in 2007.
Bitter rivalry, known to be associated with Jamaica's general and local government elections, is thrown aside as these supporters of the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party embrace each other at Nine Miles, Bull Bay, in St Andrew on Election Day 2011.
Members of the police force checking for their names on the voters' list at Twickenham Park, Spaniish Town, St Catherine during the December 2011 general election.
Election day workers (Outdoor Agents) busy checking names on the voters' list at the Tivoli Comprehensive High School in Kingston, in 2007.
People queue to cast their vote in the General election in 2011, at the St Richards Primary and Junior High School in St Andrew.
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Registering to Vote

In order to vote in any national or local government election, you must first get registered. Registration ensures that your name gets on the voters' list. The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) publishes two voters' lists each year. One list is published on May 31 and the other six months later on November 30. Registration is free and simply requires that you visit the ECJ office in the constituency in which you live and make an application to be registered.

The registration process is continuous and so the ECJ accepts applications throughout the year. However, the cut-off date to get on the the voters' list is two months before it is scheduled to be published. So, to get your name on the list for November 30, you must register by September 30.

Who can register?

The following persons can register to vote:

n A Jamaican citizen 18 years old or over and is resident in Jamaica

n A Commonwealth citizen 18 years old or over and who is resident in Jamaica at the date of registration; and who has been resident for at least 12 continuous months prior to the date of registration.

n Not subjected to any legal incapacity to vote such as being of an unsound mind, convicted or under a suspended sentence.

How do you get registered?

Here are five easy steps to getting registered.

Step 1 - Visit the EOJ constituency office

Visit the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) office, preferably in your constituency. Constituency offices are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays to Thursdays, and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Step 2 - Personal data collected

At the constituency office, the EOJ staff will assist you in filling out a Registration Record Card, also known as the RRC. This form is used to record your demographic information.

You will also be photographed and fingerprinted.

Step 3 - Residence verification

After you have completed the application form, EOJ representatives and scrutinisers (political party representatives) will visit your residence at a later date to verify the address you gave. Upon verification of your residence, you will be issued with a receipt, which you will retain.

The registration process is not complete until your residence has been verified.

The law requires that registration takes into account the place where you are 'normally resident'. This means the place where you call home and it can be proved that you live there. If you have more than one residence, you will need to declare the one in the constituency where you normally reside.

Step 4 - Await processing

Once your address has been verified, the processing of your application commences. The information you submitted is verified and your fingerprints are cross matched to ensure there is no duplication.

Step 5 - Voter identification card issued

When all the information and fingerprints have been verified and if there is no objection to your name being added to the voters' list, you now become an approved elector to be added to the voters' list when it is next published.

After the publication of the voters' list, a voter identification card will be printed and delivered to the constituency office at which you were registered. It is your responsibility to collect the card.

Be sure to take your voter registration card with you on election day, as having your card will speed up the voting process.

Elections can be called at any time and at short notice. Persons who are not registered will not be able to vote! Don't wait until it's too late - register today and you can definitely have your say.

The ECJ is urging persons who wish to get on the November 30, 2015 voters' list to apply for registration by September 30, 2015. New electors who register after that deadline will have to wait until May 31, 2016 to be added to the next voters' list, and will not be eligible to vote should an election be called before then.