Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) has called for sweeping changes to electoral laws to expand its powers.
In a report which was tabled Tuesday in the House of Representatives, the commission proposed that section six of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (Interim) Act be amended to empower it to give general advice on all matters relating to the electoral process to Cabinet, statutory bodies and any person or entity falling under the authority of the Government of Jamaica.
It also wants the laws changed to empower it to appoint, on the recommendation of eight commissioners, and shall be entitled to attend meetings of the commission but shall not be eligible to vote at such meetings.
The Errol Miller-led organisation is also proposing that the composition of the ECJ be reduced from nine to eight.
"The commission suggests a small change in the composition of the commission as well as the need to widen the advisory functions of the commission within the public sector beyond only giving advice to Parliament on boundaries."
The commission also wants Section Eight to be amended to empower it to pay election day workers at the rate prescribed by that body.
The ECJ wants section seven of the act to be amended to make provisions to allow for the emoluments payable to its chairman to be equated to that paid to the Senior Puisne judge. Miller currently earns $8.3 million yearly. The other members earn a shade over $8 million for serving on the commission.
The organisation also wants changes to the Representation of the People Act to address the transfer of indoor agents within polling stations; the incorporation of a new clause designed to prohibit the use of recording device by a voter; postponement of elections; as well as regulations to govern the use of motor vehicles for conveying voters to the poll.