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EOJ gets ready as political parties hit the campaign trail

Published:Thursday | May 7, 2015 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Orette Fisher

AS THE two major political parties start preliminary work on their election machinery, the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) is working feverishly to tweak its polling system in the event an election is called.

On Monday, the electoral body received more than $130 million to acquire pieces of equipment used during an election.

Director of Elections Orette Fisher said the EOJ is expected to receive another tranche later this month.

Fisher told The Gleaner that some pieces of electronic equipment used over the last 15 years in the polling process need to be replaced.

He said the electoral body had submitted a budget to the Government for funding to purchase new pieces of equipment for the Electronic Voter Identification System.

Fisher pointed out that if an election were to be called without the EOJ acquiring the necessary pieces of equipment, it would be seriously challenged to effectively preside over the polls.




However, he explained that on-the-ground preparation was being made to include the identification of the counting centres, polling locations and most of the workers. He said the EOJ has already trained the trainers for elections.

Fisher said the EOJ would need some kind of signal of an imminent election before rolling out its national training exercise.

"We have put everything that we can in place, and as soon as there is some indication from whatever source, then we would roll it out," he said.

"In terms of the logistical preparations, we have gone as far as we can go. In terms of acquiring certain equipment, money that was advanced [is being used] to do that."

Commenting on the voters' list, Fisher said the current list has about 1.7 million voters with a new list scheduled to be published at the end of this month.

At the same time, Fisher said there are plans to clean the voters' list by having a new enumeration exercise or resident-reverification process to verify the address of each regisrered voter. He said the cost to carry out this exercise is $2 billion.

According to Fisher, once the Electoral Commission of Jamaica receives funding from the Government, either a new enumeration process or reverification exercise would be conducted.

Local government elections are constitutionally due this year.