Fri | Nov 22, 2019

ECJ to participate in training on voter participation

Published:Tuesday | October 22, 2019 | 11:40 AM
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Officials of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) are to participate in a global training programme on ways to engage young and future voters in the electoral process, in light of low voter turnouts in Jamaica’s elections.

Fewer than 50 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots in the last general elections in February 2016.

The ECJ recorded a voter turnout of 53.17% in the December 2011 general elections.

The most recent election exercise was the Portland Eastern by-election in April, which had a voter turnout of 54.34% from 36,315 eligible electors.

The two-week training course entitled ‘Approaches to Encourage Political Participation of Prospective Voters’ will run from October 22 to November 1 in Incheon, Korea.

Three ECJ staff members, Colleen Wallen, Director of Legal Services, Catiecia Smith, Regional Manager, and Daynia Harper, Public Education Officer will represent Jamaica at the event facilitated by the Association of World Election Bodies.

The ECJ says the programme will focus on effectively reaching potential voters and engaging them in the decisions that will shape their future.

The training is also aimed at equipping election officials with the skills to overcome challenges faced in executing voter education programmes.

The sessions will involve election management officials from around the world sharing knowledge, experiences and best practices on voter education.

According to Director of Elections, Glasspole Brown, “the ECJ is always mindful of the value of these learning interventions and so we often participate in regional and international workshops, conferences and electoral observation missions in an effort to strengthen its capacity as an election management body.”

Voter turnouts of the last five general elections:

1) February 2016 – 1,824,412 registered voters with 882,389 ballots casted, representing a 48.37% voter turnout.

2) December 2011 - 876,310 votes casted from a pool of 1,648,036 electors, representing a turnout of 53.17%.

3) September 2007 - 821,325 votes from 1,336,307 electors, representing a voter turnout of 61.46%.

4) October 2002 - 768,282 ballots casted from 1,301,334 electors, representing a turnout of 59.04%.

5) December 1997 - of the 1,182,294 electors eligible to vote, 771,068 voted, representing a 65.22% turnout.

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