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Local Government Elections in Jamaica
Jamaica’s parishes are divided into 63 constituencies with 228 electoral divisions. Councillors and mayors are elected to develop, manage, and maintain infrastructure and public facilities within these divisions through local government elections. These elections are due every four years and were last held on November 28, 2016.
Although the local government elections were due in 2020, an Act was passed by the House of Representatives entitled Representation of the People (Postponement of Elections to Municipal Corporations and City Municipalities) Act, 2020, which postponed the elections. This Act was amended in 2022 and 2023, which allowed for further postponement of the election date.
The Representation of the People (Postponement of Elections to Municipal Corporations and City Municipalities) Act, 2023, states that the legislation, “shall continue in operation until (a) the 28th day of February, 2024; or (b) the day on which a general election is held pursuant to paragraph 4 (1) and (2) of the Representation of the People Act (as modified by this Act), whichever is the earlier and shall then expire.”
According to the Parish Councils Act (14, 1), “nomination day shall be such day, other than a Sunday or public holiday, as may be appointed by the Minister, by notice in the Gazette, not being more than twenty-three nor less than sixteen days next before election day.”
Electors must first register with the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) to get their names on the voter’s list before they can vote. According to the EOJ, eligible voters are:
- Jamaican citizens over the age of 18 years.
- Commonwealth citizens who have resided in Jamaica at least 12 months before getting enumerated.
- Individuals who are not legally incapable of voting, such as being of unsound mind, convicted of a crime or under a suspended sentence.
On election day, electors may use either the voter’s ID card or answer a series of questions to verify their identity. Electors are encouraged to call or visit the EOJ Constituency Office to see if their card is available or enter their name and date of birth in the query section of the EOJ’s website.
The Parish Council Act (5,8) states, “In order to establish the identity of any person by whom a ballot is demanded, the presiding officer may, if he deems it necessary, make the following enquiries of such person:
- his date of birth
- his place of birth
- the maiden name of his mother
- the place of birth of his mother
and the presiding officer shall compare the answers given by such person with the information appearing on the record… pertaining to the elector in whose name the ballot is demanded.”
Once the presiding officer is satisfied with the identity of the person, the voter will sign an Oath of Identity which is a written statement. Fingerprints will be taken and voting can proceed.
For additional information contact:
The Electoral Office of Jamaica
43 Duke Street
Tel: 876-922-0425-9/Toll-Free: 1-888-991-VOTE (8683)