JIS News

Director of Elections, Danville Walker has expressed confidence that the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) can successfully roll out its new electronic voter identification system during the next general elections.
Speaking at a recent Think Tank session at the Jamaica Information Service’s head office on Half-Way -Tree -Road, Mr. Walker noted that the EOJ has been conducting ongoing simulation exercises to ensure that the system runs effectively on Election Day.
“We have done our experiments and pilot testing of the electronic identification of voters using their finger prints. We did one in the St. Andrew Eastern constituency during the Local Government election and also when the by-election was held in West Kingston,” he explained.
He said that the system will be used for the first time in a state election and will be instituted in some 670 polling stations in select constituencies in Montego Bay, Kingston and St. Andrew, and St. Catherine.
The Director however pointed out that there are some 7,000 polling stations across the island and there have been calls for the system to be utilized in additional areas, but the Office does not have the capacity to do so.
“The constraint for the implementation is more human resource than financial,” he informed, adding that there was no difficulty in getting funding to run the programmes at the EOJ.
“Where we have a huge challenge with some of the technology that we use is how much we are able to pay the persons who work at the EOJ and the availability of technicians and people who are capable to operate these systems,” he told JIS News.
To alleviate this problem Mr. Walker disclosed, the EOJ has been looking at ways to simplify the system, making them more user-friendly.
“We have to get to the point where these voting machines are such that you just turn on a switch and they are ready so there is not a heavy reliance on technical personnel,” he said.
The EOJ will be conducting additional simulation exercises on June 30 at Half-Way-Tree Primary; Kingston Technical High; Meadowbrook High and the Jose Marti Technical High Schools.
On July 7, exercises will be conducted at the Excelsior Community College, Mona High School, Constant Spring All-Age School and the Windward Road Primary and Junior High School.

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