Sat | Dec 4, 2021

UPDATE | 1,107 ballots rejected in Clarendon North Western, PNP to seek recount

Published:Wednesday | September 9, 2020 | 2:59 PM
In the final count, the Jamaica Labour Party's Phillip Henriques polled 5,630 votes to unseat the incumbent People's National Party's Richard Azan by 83 votes.

Jovan Johnson, Senior Reporter

The People's National Party is to seek a magisterial recount in the Clarendon North Western constituency which recorded 1,107 rejected ballots in last week's general election.

In the final count, the Jamaica Labour Party's Phillip Henriques polled 5,630 votes to unseat the incumbent People's National Party (PNP's) Richard Azan by 83 votes.

Merrick Cohen, an independent candidate, received 46 votes.

Last night, Azan told The Gleaner that an application for a recount is unlikely.

"I don't think we're going to do any recount," he said.

But in a statement this afternoon, PNP general secretary Julian Robinson said a magisterial recount will be filed tomorrow.

"The documents are being prepared now," he told The Gleaner.

Director of Elections Glasspole Brown said, he found it unusual that 1,107 ballots were rejected in the September 3 poll in Clarendon North Western.

The 1,107 rejected ballots is almost 10 per cent of the total votes cast in the constituency.

But at the time, Brown said a proper analysis could not be done until there was a clear indication from the JLP or the PNP as to whether either would seek a magisterial recount.

"I did not see the ballots; the decision was the Returning Officer's. It's his wisdom based on the training and the guidance we have given him," said Brown.

However, he said the number of rejected ballots does "raise a red flag".

A ballot may be rejected if:
1) The paper was not supplied by the presiding officer
2) It was not marked for any candidate
3) The vote was given for more than one candidate
4) There was writing or mark on the ballot paper which could identify the elector.  

The number of rejected ballots in Clarendon North Western would be the highest for the constituency in at least five elections stretching back to 1997; and by far, the most by any constituency in Jamaica over the same period.  

Last week, 714, 808 Jamaicans voted in the general election.  

The PNP was thrashed by the JLP which won 48 of the 63 seats in the parliament. 

The PNP won 15. 

Rejected ballots in Clarendon North Western for past five elections: 

2016 – 232 out of 15,558 votes 
2011 – 72 out of 15,591 votes 
2007 – 63 out of 14,786 votes
2009 – 30 out of 6,005  votes (uncontested by-election) 
2002 – 174 out of 12,786 votes 
1997 – 32 out of 13,407 votes 

Total rejected ballots (national) in past five general elections:  
2016 – 9,875 out of 882,389 votes 
2011 – 5,358 out of 876,310 votes
2007 – 4,819 out of 821,325 votes 
2002 – 7,387 out of 768,282 votes 
1997 – 6,284 out of 771,068 votes 

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