Friday 25 September, 2020

Election 2020: What's behind the date

Jamaicans have voted 17 times in a general election since Universal Adult Suffrage in 1994. The 18th general election will take place in just under three weeks on Thursday, September 3, 2020.

This marks the second time Jamaicans would have voted on the same day in the same month. The first and only September polls - the traditional ‘back-to-school’ month is usually avoided as the nation prepares for the start of the new academic year - to date were held on Monday, September 3, 2007.

The 2007 date was influenced by Hurricane Dean as Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller was forced to push back the August 27 date she had set before the hurricane impacted the country and eleven others. Simpson Miller and the People’s National Party (PNP) lost in a close election to the Bruce Golding-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and political pundits have largely linked the loss to the change of date.

Another date, December 15 has seen Jamaicans marking their ballots for their preferred political party twice.

On December 15, 1976 Michael Manley and the PNP won a second consecutive term in government and on the same date in 1983 Edward Seaga and the JLP won a snap election that was not contested by the PNP thus giving Seaga a second straight term in office.

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