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Electoral Commission of Jamaica eyes April to start reverification exercise

Published:Thursday | March 5, 2015 | 12:00 AM
An electronic vote under way.

The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) could begin its reverification of voters in April, if the Government provides the funding needed to carry out the long-overdue exercise.

Minister with responsibility for electoral matters Phillip Paulwell told members of the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament reviewing the Estimates of Expenditure and other documents for the 2015/2016 financial year, on Tuesday, that the ECJ is ready to start as soon as it receives funding.

"The ECJ is ready to start as soon as the warrant is issued," Paulwell told Opposition spokesman on finance Audley Shaw.

Paulwell said he would be prepared to recommend to the minister of finance that the warrant be issued in April, the start of the new financial year.

At a press briefing last month, chairman of the ECJ Dorothy Pine-McLarty said the commission had acknowledged the need to remove ineligible persons from the voters' list, noting that, while the process was ongoing, the electoral oversight body had recognised the need to have a comprehensive review.

The reverification exercise is expected to address the removal of dead persons from the list and the migration of persons, both internal and external.

The ECJ boss noted that a house-to-house enquiry and reverification would require a visit to every household in Jamaica.

She indicated that, at the end of the exercise, a new list would be produced.

"It is important to note, however, that the existing database will not be discarded, but will instead be used to verify the identities of persons already on the existing list and their demographic and biometric data updated as necessary," the ECJ head stated.