... but turnout low as special service voters cast ballots
VOTING BY special-service officers yesterday went smoothly even as the voter turnout was said to be low. Director of Elections Orrette Fisher told The Gleaner that voting proceeded slowly throughout the day.
He said there were no reports of long lines or high voter turnout at any of the polling stations.
Fisher also said there were no complaints about names not being on the voters’ list.
More than 38,000 specialservice officers were scheduled to cast their ballots yesterday ahead of next week’s local government elections.
The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) said the group is made up of 10,196 police personnel, 2,373 soldiers and 26,308 election day workers.
Approximately 230 locations, including schools, churches, police stations, courthouses and military bases, were set up to facilitate voting between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The EOJ has advised that special electors who did not vote yesterday will not be able to cast their ballots on Monday because their names have already been removed from the civilian voters’ list.
PREPARATIONS ON TRACK FOR MONDAY
Meanwhile, the EOJ boss said his office was continuing preparations for Monday’s local government elections. He said preparation was on track for the elections, but noted that work would continue throughout the weekend into Monday. Fisher said his aim was to run the election without any glitch, noting that the EOJ was analysing, assessing and putting in place measures to ensure a smooth process. Commenting on plans that have been put in place for electors in volatile communities, Fisher said the EOJ had met with the Police High Command and the military and had been assured that Jamaicans should have no fear in going out to cast their ballots on Monday. Rival factions in Montego Bay, Spanish Town and West Kingston have been engaged in a bloody war in recent times, which has resulted in the killing of dozens of people. “I am satisfied that what they have explained, the things that should be put in place, should mitigate against those risks. I am not in a position to disclose the strategies that they will be employing, (but) having had the discussions, we are satisfied that everything that can be done will be done to ensure that electors and workers are safe.”
Participants in what was labelled a ‘silent protest’ lead by Jamaica AIDS Support for Life to commemorate the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women in the context of HIV gathered at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre in St Andrew yesterday.