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ECJ starts clean-up of voters' list November

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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THE Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) says that it is about to commence a special elector verification to update the voters' list.

The aim of the verification, the ECJ said, is to accelerate the identification and removal of electors on the current voters' list who have died since 1998.

A major component of the initiative, a news release from the ECJ said, is an islandwide house-to-house verification of electors, which is slated to get underway in November.

The project entails trained and identifiable verifiers visiting the homes of 1.1 million electors 40 years and older to collect the necessary information, over a four-month period.

The ECJ release said that electors who are confirmed as dead will be removed from the voters' list.

Director of Elections Glasspole Brown explained that the removal of deceased electors has statistical and financial benefits for taxpayers and will eventually lead to reduced spending on election preparation and more accurate statistics on voter turnout.

“Whenever an election is called, we must prepare for a 100 per cent turnout; that is, all the electors on the list. When we remove the electors confirmed as dead, then we will be able to spend less on elections as we prepare for a more accurate number of voters. Therefore, we would be printing fewer ballots and utilising fewer polling stations, for example,” he said.

The ECJ is seeking to enlist the support of political, public sector and private sector stakeholders who possess information on electors who have died since 1998.

An appeal will also be made to the public to provide information on their relatives or acquaintances who passed away during the period, as part of the public education campaign for the initiative, the release said.

A recruitment drive for temporary verifiers and data entry clerks will take place over the next three weeks.

The release said that a similar exercise was carried out in 2012 for electors 70 years and older and that this facilitated the removal of 54,000 people.

The ECJ release said that the organisation expects to remove more than 200,000 names from the voters' list with this exercise.

Under the law, reverification of the voters' list must be done every 10 years. The last one was completed in 2006.

There are 1,917,945 electors on the voters' list.

The ECJ publishes a voters' list twice each year (May 31 and November 30). This biannual updating of the list allows for the addition of newly registered electors and the removal of electors who are confirmed dead.

The release said that the staff at the Electoral Office of Jamaica's constituency offices islandwide work assiduously on a daily basis to obtain information on deceased electors and conduct the necessary field activities to confirm the information received.

However, only about 5,000 names are removed per year through the efforts of the staff and political representatives. One of the primary sources of information on deceased people is the Registrar General's Department (RGD).

However, the ECJ release said that it fully recognises the challenges faced by the RGD as they relate to the non-registration of deaths and the limited and restricted quality of the information provided.

The reverification is expected to cost at least $2 billion.

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