Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Are we being disenfranchised?

Published:Wednesday | February 3, 2016 | 12:00 AM


I went to the Electoral Office of Jamaica recently (EOJ) to collect my voter identification. Apparently, there was a conflict with my registration.

I had, while living in the Kitson Town area over nine years, begun the registration process but lacked some document or the other for which I had to go back home. Shortly after that, I went to live in Dunbeholden, and to the best of my knowledge never completed the process. When I went to register late last year in the Portmore office, I mentioned this to the young lady who was signing me up and she continued with my registration.

Lo and behold, when I went to collect my identification, I was told that I had to attend an enquiry in "April sometime", of which I will be "notified in the mail" regarding the date and venue, because of the fact that I had registered as Sylvia Straw (Straw being my maiden name) and now was registering as Sylvia Dallas (my married name).

I said to the lady who gave me this information, "But that means that I won't be able to vote in the upcoming election." Her response was, "It seems that way."

What bugs me is that there was this drive for voters to register, yet issues arise and an enquiry is planned for APRIL - when everyone and his dog knows that the election would have to be called before then.

The attitude of the EOJ in this regard seems to be one of nonchalance and neglect. So what if we do not get to vote? Rumours abound about persons who have registered who are encountering one problem after another. I do recall seeing in a report somewhere that an unprecedented number of persons between the ages of 25 and 35 registered to vote late last year. Dare I think that persons who do not get to vote this time might not ever get to do so again?

A lot can be done in five years, including removing our right to vote under the guise of streamlining some process or another. Call me paranoid if you will, but are we being disenfranchised?