KINGSTON, Feb. 18 (JIS): With the General Election slated for February 25, Jamaicans are being encouraged to follow the necessary guidelines, to ensure that the voting process proceed as smoothly as possible.
In an interview with JIS News, Public Education Officer at the Electoral Commission of Jamaica, Daynia Harper, said before the Election Day, persons should find out where they are to vote.
“We encourage you to visit our website at ecj.com.jm and click on query voters’ list. It will ask you for your name and date of birth and after that we will prompt you about where you are to vote,” Ms. Harper said.
She is also reminding voters to take along their voter identification card to the polling stations.
“The voter’s ID card is the only identification card that is accepted on that day. However, if you do not have that card, you may still vote, but it will take a longer time for you to be able to cast your ballot,” she added.
On arrival at the polling station, Jamaicans are being encouraged to join the line and wait until it is their turn to vote.
Importantly, the use or display of cameras, cellular phones or any other image-capturing device is banned inside the polling station, and persons are being urged to turn off their cellular phones inside the polling stations.
“Another thing you need to do when you get to the polling station, is to turn off and put away your cell phones. Do not attempt to use or display your cell phones or cameras or any kind of video recorders in the polling station,” Ms. Harper warned.
If individuals attempt to use their cell phone or any smart device to do a recording, he or she will be asked to leave the polling station and will lose their chance to vote. In addition, voters must follow the instructions of the Presiding Officer in order for their ballot to be successfully marked and cast.
“The Presiding Officer will show you how to fold your ballot and you will go behind the screen. You will mark your ballot with an ‘X’ for the candidate you wish to vote for and then you will refold your ballot in the exact way that the Presiding Officer has shown you. You will return with the ballot and you will dip your finger in the ink and watch as the Presiding Officer puts your ballot into the ballot box,” Ms. Harper said.
Meanwhile, voters are encouraged not to try and influence any other voter to vote for a particular candidate.
“If you show anyone your ballot, it will be taken from you by the Presiding Officer and marked as spoilt. You will, however, be given another chance to vote. But we encourage you – do not show anyone your ballot,” the Public Education Officer emphasised.
Workers desirous of casting their ballots on Election Day are allotted time off from work to do so under the Representation of the People (Leave and Symbols) Regulations, 1944.
They are allowed three hours, in addition to the normal meal hour, for voting purposes on a national and local election day.
For more information about the voting process, persons may contact the Electoral Commission by calling toll free: 1-888-991-8683 or visit their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @ecjamaica.