Friday 14 August, 2020

Election Watch: Is it too late to register to vote?

It is never too late to register to be on the voters’ list since the registration process is a continuous one.

However, it could prove to be too late for a person to vote, depending on when registration takes place and when the election is held.

Therefore, people who always wait until the last minute to get things done could find that they may be unable to exercise their constitutional right to vote in the next general election which is widely expected this year.

This is so as the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), publishes two voters’ list each year based on its system of continuous registration. The lists are published on May 31 and November 30. 

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who is the only person who can call the election, has given a commitment that the general election will not be held until after the states of emergency expire on July 25.

In this scenario, if the election were to take place in August or September, persons who have already registered, but who would only be placed on the November voters’ list, would lose the opportunity to cast their ballot.

Meanwhile, in the case of the May 31 voters’ lists, the publication date was pushed back to July 31 due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the ECJ said. Electors added to this list can expect to collect their voter ID cards by mid-August. Those persons who make the cut will be able to cast their ballot in any election that is held after the revised publication date of July 31.

Persons appearing on the voters' list for the first time on November 30, would be hoping that the prime minister sets the election date for the month of December or later.

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