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RJRGLEANER to assist ECJ with update of voters’ list

Published:Sunday | June 30, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Director of Elections Glasspole Brown
Gary Allen, CEO of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group.

The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) has entered a partnership with the RJRGLEANER Communications Group geared at updating the national voters’ list used for elections. This special collaboration will give the ECJ access to death notices published in The Gleaner newspaper since 1998 in an effort to accelerate the identification and removal of deceased electors. This will be facilitated through the use of their expansive library and catalogue of the names and photographs that have been collected over the last 20 years.

“We take seriously our corporate responsibility of doing what is best for our country, and this initiative was born out of making sure that we help any effort that improves the integrity of our electoral process and our democratic activities,” said RJRGLEANER chief executive officer Gary Allen.

“Each year, we publish on behalf of Jamaicans thousands of death notices, which we will be happy to hand over to the ECJ to help in their dead elector removal exercise.”

The ECJ is currently in the second phase of this special exercise, which involves the confirmation of electors reported as dead. During the first phase of the exercise, verifiers visited the residences of 1.1 million electors 40 years and older, identifying approximately 106,000 names for confirmation and subsequent removal from the current list.

Glasspole Brown, director of elections at the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ), expressed his appreciation for the partnership, noting that access to The Gleaner’s information would give the ECJ access to a large pool of death information spanning ages 18 years and older.

“The ECJ is grateful to the RJRGLEANER Group for coming on board as a stakeholder in providing us with access to their rich database of death notices for the past 20 years. The critical pieces of information that assist us to more readily verify the identity of deceased electors are the name, date of birth and photograph, which are distinctive characteristics of The Gleaner’s death notices. This will be an added contribution to the success of the project,” he said.

The EOJ is projecting that by November 2020, some 200,000 names of electors who have been identified and confirmed as dead will be removed from the list.

The EOJ has already partnered with churches, funeral service providers, municipal corporations, political representatives, government ministries and, more recently, the Ministry of Health in accessing hospital databases.

The Gleaner has been publishing newspapers since 1834. The Library & Archive are a rich source of information and a valuable national treasure.