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Acting Director of the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ), Orrette Fisher, has said that feedback from the four public fora held on campaign financing, would be taken into consideration when the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) does its final draft report.
In a JIS radio interview, Mr. Fisher pointed out that the report would be presented to Parliament.
“The Commission is also willing to take into consideration any suggestion that is put forward (from any interest groups). That is why the fora are being held, so that the public’s views can be reflected (in the draft report),” he said.
Public fora on campaign financing have been held in the parishes of Portland, St. James, Kingston and Manchester.
On another matter, Mr. Fisher informed that the EOJ has extended the opening hours of its offices islandwide, so as to facilitate the collection of voter identification cards.
“We are trying to facilitate the electors in collecting their cards and therefore we open late in the week, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. On Saturdays, we open from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.,” he said.
The Acting Director urged electors who work and are unable to collect their cards during the week, to utilize the facility that is offered on the weekend.
Meanwhile, Mr. Fisher explained that ID cards that had expired were scheduled to be reprinted by the end of December 2007.
“We had two elections that we ran towards the end of last year and this prevented us from dealing with the ID cards. We decided to extend the expiry date until June 30, 2008, with the hope that we would have all the cards ready to be distributed by that date,” the Acting Director said.
However, he noted that “persons were saying that they didn’t have enough time to go and collect the cards.”
“Therefore, to give persons a little time, we have extended the expiry date until September to facilitate the collection of the cards. The cards are ready and are in the offices,” Mr. Fisher emphasised.
The Acting Director explained that the EOJ is “forced” to retake pictures of persons who come to collect their ID cards, as pictures taken before, “were taken under less than ideal circumstances.”
“What we have found is that there are objects in some of the background, some of the pictures are too dark, some are too light and in a few cases, we even have some other persons standing in the background. To add those photographs to our database would be to corrupt the database,” he pointed out.