The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) is working towards greater use of technology in its activities, particularly in conducting general elections.
In a recent Jamaica Information Service ‘Get the Facts’ interview, Director of Elections, Glasspole Brown, said the system will be utilised in seven constituencies during the General Election on Thursday (September 3).
“What it does is it uses biometrics. In other words, your fingerprint is used to identify you, and that allows the [voting] process to move a little bit faster,” he said.
“We have started the process; it is now with the [Public] Procurement Committee, so, hopefully, during the next election cycle we will be able to roll out those gadgets across the entire island,” Mr. Brown said.
The Electronic Voter Identification System, formerly the Electronic Voter Identification and Ballot Issuing System, is computer-based and requires voters to place a specific finger on a fingerprint scanner. Once the voter’s identity has been confirmed, then a ballot will be issued for voting.
This system will be used in Western St. Andrew; West Central St. Andrew; East Kingston and Port Royal; East Rural St. Andrew; Central St. Catherine; and Eastern St. Catherine on Election Day.
Mr. Brown said the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) has been having discussions about technology that could allow voters to vote from any polling station in any parish across the island.
“The discussions are taking place. It’s going to involve a lot of discussion. Certainly, it is going to involve the amendment of the Act that governs elections. At the Commission and the EOJ we are looking at alternatives. We are already seeking, as best as possible, to use much more technology in what we do. We have a significant database that has a large amount of biometric data and if we are able to use that biometric data in whichever activity we do, then that would be good. Our vision is geared towards greater use of technology in all our activities,” Mr. Brown said.