Sun | Nov 29, 2020

EOJ almost ready

Published:Monday | August 24, 2020 | 1:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Electoral Office of Jamaica staff and volunteers preparing ballots in a sterile area at the Duke Street offices in Kingston on Sunday. It is expected that all 1.9 million ballots will be printed and ready by Wednesday, August 26.
Electoral Office of Jamaica staff and volunteers preparing ballots in a sterile area at the Duke Street offices in Kingston on Sunday. It is expected that all 1.9 million ballots will be printed and ready by Wednesday, August 26.

The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) is in the final stages of preparation for the September 3 general election, with the training of one-day police among the last areas of readiness being completed.

Heightened concern over COVID-19 infections has presented new challenges to the holding of the vote, including new safety protocols.

Director of Elections Glasspole Brown said, during a mini tour of the EOJ’s facilities on Sunday, that the printing of the 1.9 million ballots should be completed by Wednesday afternoon.

“We are doing a simulation with our staff to make them more comfortable with the election day machines and interacting with potential voters,” said Brown.

“We have recruited close to 30,000 persons to assist us in the process,” he said.

Training of one-day police should be completed by Tuesday. Election day workers, the police, and the army are scheduled to vote on August 31.

While acknowledging that no electors would be turned away, Brown has advised against an early surge of voters at polling stations to minimise delays.

“Our experience, certainly in the past, is that persons normally turn up very early, between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. However, if they stagger their time during the course of the day, it will help in terms of the speed at which they get through,” Brown told The Gleaner.

“Delay is a possibility, but we are checking to see how best we can make it efficient.”

The director urged electors to travel with their voter’s ID to limit time lags. Persons who do not have IDs will have to take an oath and undergo other verification.

The EOJ will be ramping up its public-education campaign on COVID-19 safety and will implore electors to don a mask in order to enter polling stations.

Brown said that an electronic voter identification system would be used in seven constituencies, including Kingston Eastern and St Andrew Western.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com