Sun | Jul 23, 2017

Warmington proposal endangers vote

Published:Tuesday | August 5, 2014 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

At last Tuesday's sitting of the House of Representatives, South West St Catherine Member of Parliament Everald Warmington tabled a number of resolutions related to electoral matters.

One of his resolutions called for an amendment to be made to the existing laws to allow an elector to use any implement (other than a pencil) and any mark (other than the X) to denote his/her vote.

I rose in Parliament objecting to the proposal and urged caution in its consideration.

The most fundamental reason this proposal should not be accepted is that the basic premise of our electoral system is that an elector's vote is secret and should never be known to anyone other than the elector.

Allowing any implement and any mark to stand as a vote allows an unscrupulous politician to provide, for example, a black pen and indicate to his/her to supporters to use a specific mark which can then be determined during the count, as political parties have agents who monitor the process.

The politician can, therefore, determine whether specific persons voted for him based on the implement used and the specific mark.

This would remove the secrecy and anonymity associated with an elector's vote and threaten the most fundamental hallmark of our democracy.

While I understand the malady the resolution is seeking to correct, this proposal is not the answer.

Political parties and the Electoral Office of Jamaica must continue to invest in public education to inform our electors about how to vote and what is the correct implement and mark to make.

JULIAN J. ROBINSON

Member of Parliament

South East St Andrew