Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Observe voting rules, Fisher tells voters

Published:Monday | November 28, 2016 | 12:00 AMJason Cross

"We'll be ready" was the affirmation Director of Elections Orrette Fisher confidently gave when asked by The Gleaner yesterday evening how prepared the Electoral Office of Jamaica was ahead of today's Local Government Elections.

Fisher's message to voters was to ensure that they fully observe voting rules.

"The simple thing that I would ask is that they (voters) don't all come between seven and eight in the morning and that they remember to bring their identification cards and that they observe the voting rules," Fisher said.

Polls open at 7 a.m. today. Election Day workers and members of the security forces voted last Friday.

Four hundred and eighty-nine candidates will challenge for seats as councillors across 228 divisions in addition to Portmore, a municipal council.

The People's National Party (PNP) currently holds majority council seats as they secured 12 of 13 councils contested in the 2012 Local Government Elections.

The PNP also secured the Portmore Municipal Council.

Electronic voting will take place in seven constituencies that were used in the February 2016 general election.

The technology is called the Electronic Voter Identification and Ballot Issuing Systems (EVIBIS).

Constituencies in which electronic voting systems were used in 2012 include Kingston Central, Kingston Eastern, Port Royal, St Andrew Western, St Andrew South Eastern, St Andrew Eastern, and St Andrew West Central.

Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown Told The Gleaner yesterday that she has had various complaints from a number of sources, some more serious than others. However, she said the time to look into and deal with those matters would be after the elections.

"There have been a range of complaints, (including) a serious allegation of contact between a member of the public and a candidate's motor vehicle. We had complaints of public utterances that people were upset about. We've had a complaint about the mitigation project being undertaken by the Government. We have had complaints of serious threats and intimidation that are really trying to prevent people from going out to vote, based on allegations made," Parchment Brown explained.

Despite the issues, she commended the candidates for carrying out decent campaigns.

Parchment Brown said that what she would be raising after the elections is campaigning by candidates after the official campaign window had closed.

"Campaigning after the period is closed is a severe breach of the laws of Jamaica," she said.