Sat | Mar 24, 2018

How election days are chosen

Published:Monday | February 1, 2016 | 12:26 AM

Under the Representation of the People Act (ROPA), nomination day is the designated date for the official naming or selection of candidates to contest a general election.

The two major political parties ­ the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) ­ have each already listed a slate of 63 candidates but have until nomination day to change their candidate selection.

Other Jamaicans are also eligible to be nominated to contest the general election.

The law requires that nomination day be at least five clear days after the announcement of an election.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has to observe the provision in law which also stipulates that the period between nomination day and election day be 16 (minimum) to 23 (maximum) days.

In accordance with ROPA, Simpson Miller is required to dispatch correspondence to Governor General Sir Patrick Allen advising him to dissolve the current Parliament.

The dissolution can be any time between the announcement and nomination day.

Although the general elections is constitutionally due in December, in keeping with the five-year requirement, the prime minister is empowered, as she has, to call the election before.

In the 16 general elections held since the granting of universal adult suffrage in 1944, six of them have been held in December.

The next most popular months are February (three) and October (two). January, March, April, July and September have had one election each.

Come election day, voters are required to follow the instructions given on how to cast their vote, as there are four conditions under which your ballot may be rejected.

Provisions contained in ROPA, Section 44 (2); the Parish Council Act, Section 40 (2); and the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation Act, Section 62 (2) allow for a presiding officer in counting the votes to reject all ballots:

- that have not been supplied by him;

- that have not been marked for any candidate;

- on which the elector has marked for more than one candidate; and

- on which there is any writing or mark by which the voter could be identified. Such markings would be those placed on the ballot by the voter that would serve to identify him.