JIS News

A Bill to amend three pieces of legislation paving the way for the introduction of the electronic voter identification and ballot issuing system into the island’s electoral process is to be brought before the parliament.
Making the disclosure at yesterday’s (Mon. Feb.14) post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman said the proposed amendments to the Representation of the People Act, the Kingston and St. Andrew Act and the Parish Council Act are to give effect to the decision to introduce the use of the system.
He said the changes were being made to ensure that the electronic voter identification and ballot issuing system, which the Electoral Advisory Committee has begun to use in the electoral process, would become standard practice island wide in all elections.
Minister Whiteman noted that the system had worked well in the 2003 Local Government elections, in which two parish council divisions in Eastern St. Andrew were used to test the system following a preliminary test run.
He said based on this the EAC had recommended the use of the system in all future elections.
The system, which depends on finger print identification, will issue a ballot paper once the fingerprint has been applied and is found to be the appropriate fingerprint for the elector who has presented it. A ballot will then be issued and voting will proceed in the normal way.
“It is not electronic voting, it is electronic identification of the voter,” Minister Whiteman stressed.
Furthermore he said, the move was part of the process to modernize the system, making it watertight and fool proof making the principle “one person one vote, same person same vote” a reality.
The Information Minister said the Bill would legalize the system and make allowances for the presiding officer to revert to the original system in cases where the mechanism malfunctions. In this case the individual will be required to prove his identification by other means.

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