Tuesday 27 October, 2020

Guyana seeks ECJ's help with its voter registration process

The Guyana Electoral Commission (GECOM) has sought the assistance of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) with the finalising of the registration process for its electors.

The Guyanese election management body has asked Jamaica for help with cross-matching the fingerprints of its newly registered electors ahead of the country’s next general elections.

Representatives from GECOM visited Jamaica at the end of August to explore the prospects for the ECJ to undertake the fingerprint verification process.

Similar to Jamaica, the registration process in Guyana involves cross-matching fingerprints with the database of voters to ensure there is no duplicate registration. Cross-matching identifies voters already on the voters’ list attempting to register a second time, and new voters who applied for registration at different locations.

Unlike Jamaica, Guyana has a periodic registration system where registration of electors is done during select periods. The GECOM collected the information for about 300,000 electors for registration during their recently-concluded house-to-house enumeration exercise.

Consequently, fingerprint verification is required periodically on a much larger scale in Guyana, while Jamaica conducts cross-matching on a continuous basis.

The request for assistance comes through a continued relationship between the Jamaican and Guyanese electoral commissions. Last year, the ECJ hosted members of the GECOM to observe Jamaica’s elector registration technology, and to explore further avenues for co-operation in other areas of the electoral process.

The ECJ is often called upon by other Caribbean territories for collaboration and assistance on the development of electoral systems. Last year, the Elections Office in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) reached out to the ECJ to assist with rectifying a challenge with the printing of their identification (ID) cards. Due to the critical nature of the problem, the Elections Office there was required to act swiftly to resolve the problem. In October 2018, the ECJ’s information systems manager visited the BVI and was able to rectify the issue within one day.

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