Wed | Jan 23, 2019

Put voters' list beyond question

Published:Friday | January 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I take note of Mr Audley Shaw's seemingly one-man campaign to get the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) to clean up the country's voters' list by way of a reverification exercise.

Is the Jamaica Labour Party not concerned about this particularly troubling situation? Where are the voices of the JLP representatives on the ECJ? Certainly, the People's National Party, for the good of our democracy, and all well-thinking Jamaicans, should be equally concerned.

As Mr Shaw reminds, on account of the ECJ's own recommendation to the Parliament years ago, the voters' list is to be reverified at least every six years. The last such exercise was carried out in 2005-06.

Although efforts have been made by the ECJ to work in tandem with the Registrar General's Department to periodically remove the names of dead people from the list, more work needs to be done to ensure greater accuracy in that regard.

Additionally, a more effective mechanism must be put in place to ensure that people are registered in the constituencies in which they live or have actual connections.

We have heard of stories where some voters, in advance of an election, transfer their votes to neighbouring constituencies to shore up the electoral chances of particular candidates.

Before any such transfers are allowed, the ECJ should satisfy itself that those transfers are legitimate. The voters should establish sufficient ties to the constituency to which their votes are being transferred.