Dead vot­ers still haunt elec­toral process

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Ed­mond Camp­bell Se­nior Staff Re­porter ed­mond.camp­bell@glean­erjm.com

WITH 108 per cent of se­niors aged 65 years and over enu­mer­ated, rep­re­sent­ing eight per­cent­age points more than that pop­u­la­tion co­hort as recorded by the Sta­tis­ti­cal In­sti­tute of Ja­maica (STATIN), ques­tions have again been raised about dead elec­tors on the vot­ers’ list. Data from STATIN show that the pop­u­la­tion for se­niors 65 years and older stood at 247,323 in 2015. This com­pares with 268,138 se­niors listed as enu­mer­ated on the vot­ers’ list.

NA­TIONAL ID SYS­TEM NEEDED

Direc­tor of Elec­tions Or­rette Fisher is urg­ing the Gov­ern­ment to estab­lish the lon­gawaited na­tional iden­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem. Ac­cord­ing to the Elec­toral Of­fice of Ja­maica (EOJ) head, this sys­tem would al­low for each per­son to be given a unique num­ber which would be used by the in­di­vid­ual in all trans­ac­tions with pub­lic en­ti­ties from birth to death. “This will al­low us to uniquely iden­tify an elec­tor who would have died and be able to re­move that per­son from the list,” he told stake­hold­ers in the elec­toral process at yes­ter­day’s launch of the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion of Ja­maica’s ‘Democ­racy Pass­port’ at The Pe­ga­sus ho­tel in New Kingston. The Democ­racy Pass­port pro­vides a syn­op­sis of the vot­ing process and gives a brief overview of Ja­maica’s elec­toral sys­tem.

“As direc­tor of elec­tions, I recog­nise the fact that we have on the list a num­ber of per­sons who have mi­grated we are un­able to re­move, and dead elec­tors, which has not been re­ported to us.”

Fisher is also call­ing for changes in the cur­rent sys­tem of re­port­ing deaths to the Regis­trar Gen­eral’s De­part­ment (RGD), not­ing that in some in­stances, re­ports are made to the de­part­ment years after the deaths when a will is to be pro­bated.

Fisher told the au­di­ence that there was a mis­con­cep­tion by some who be­lieve that there is a list of dead per­sons at the RGD. He said the ma­jor­ity of deaths re­ported to the de­part­ment oc­cured in in­sti­tu­tions. Ac­cord­ing to Fisher, deaths that take place else­where, espe­cially sud­den deaths, of­ten go un­re­ported as far as the RGD is con­cerned.

He stressed that when the Elec­toral Of­fice of Ja­maica gets a list from the RGD, it does not in­clude all deaths, and it also in­cludes many per­sons who are not on the vot­ers’ list.

“The in­for­ma­tion given to the RGD is as re­ported by the in­for­mant. This of­ten means that the name is mis­spelt, the age is in­cor­rect, and it is usu­ally ap­prox­i­mated; there is no re­quire­ment for a date of birth; and the ad­dress of­ten bears no re­la­tion­ship to the one that we have on the list.” He said what this means is that the EOJ is un­able to say who it is that died. He added that the of­fice had to guard against re­mov­ing the wrong per­son from the elec­toral list.

Read full story at www.ja­maica-gleaner.com.

Direc­tor of Elec­tions Or­rette Fisher

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