Fri | Oct 23, 2020

No breaches by COVID electors, says EOJ

Published:Monday | September 7, 2020 | 12:19 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Glasspole Brown, director of elections, outside the Electoral Office of Jamaica on Duke Street, Kingston.
Glasspole Brown, director of elections, outside the Electoral Office of Jamaica on Duke Street, Kingston.

There WERE no reported breaches surrounding voting by people with COVID-19 who emerged from isolation or any of the nearly 30,000 who have been precautionarily quarantined on election day, last Thursday, Director of Elections Glasspole Brown has confirmed.

Strict arrangements, including the wearing of face shields, were established days ahead of the September 3 poll by the Office of the Prime Minister, which gave the go-ahead for those in isolation and quarantine to vote between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., the last hour available.

When pressed, Brown said that all aspects of the electoral process worked well generally across the country.

“We have had no report on that matter, as clearly both the COVID-19-positive electors, those who would have been in isolation, understood and followed all the guidelines necessary to safeguard the public,” he said.

Brown noted also that no count was made to determine the number of infected persons who came out to vote.

Further, he said that a report is now being readied that will shed more light on the number of election day workers who may have withdrawn their service out of fears surrounding COVID-19.

Before election day, anecdotal reports emerged that some temporary workers, including those belonging to financial institutions and manufacturing companies, had been threatened with the removal of vacation leave privileges by their employers.

Consequently, an undeclared number of election day workers backed out at the last minute out of fear for contracting the virus that has claimed, as of Sunday, the lives of 33 Jamaicans, mostly elderly, and infected 3,103.

Employers took the stance amid a surge in coronavirus cases, triggered during the Emancipendence holidays, in early August. Public-health authorities have confirmed that the virus is now at the level of community spread.

Last week, Brown told The Gleaner he would be taking a “wait-and-see approach” to determine whether the withdrawal of temporary election day workers because of quarantine threats from employers would have affected operations at polling stations.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com