House Clears Way for Use of Electronic Voter System


The House of Representatives on Tuesday (March 1) amended three Bills paving the way for the electronic voter identification system to be introduced to the island’s electoral process.
The Bills, which were piloted by leader of government business and National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips are: the Representation of the People Act 2005; the Parish Councils Act 2005 and the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation Act 2005.
Dr. Phillips, who has responsibility for electoral matters, said that the electronic voter system would significantly advance the process towards ensuring that the electoral system was a credible one allowing for free and fair elections.
The amendments, which received support from both sides of the House, were made to ensure that the electronic voter identification and ballot issuing system, which the Electoral Advisory Committee (EAC) has already begun to use, would become standard practice island wide in all elections.
Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, said the Bills were not controversial and commended the work and leadership of the EAC. Dr. Baugh noted that the initiative would serve to consolidate Jamaica’s democratic ideal, eradicate corruption at the polls and was one step further towards ensuring “one man one vote, same person same vote.”
The EAC has recommended the use of the system for all future elections based on the success of the initial test conducted in two parish council divisions in Eastern St. Andrew during the 2003 local government 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. Voting will then take place in the normal way.
The Bill also makes allowances for the presiding officer to revert to the original system in situations where the mechanism malfunctions and in such a case, the individual will be required to prove his identification by other means.

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