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KINGSTON — Some 6,629 polling stations across the island will be open today to accommodate thousands of Jamaicans, who are desirous of casting their ballots.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Public Education Officer, Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ), Christin Senior, said that while the number of polling stations is significant, it is not the largest the country has opened over the years.

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The Public Education Officer is reminding persons wishing to exercise their franchise that they can do so between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Miss Senior is also encouraging voters to take along their voter identification card to the polling stations to ensure that the voting process can proceed as smoothly as possible.

"If you don't have your identification cards, you will still be allowed to vote but this significantly lengthens the time that you will spend inside the polling station. This is because we will have to go through various steps to verify your identity. Your finger print will also have to be taken and you will have to swear or affirm to your identity. The only identification card that will be accepted is your (valid) voter identification card also known as your national identification," she said.

She noted that the use or display of cameras, cellular phones or any other image-capturing device is banned inside the polling station, and is also urging persons to turn off their cellular phones inside the polling stations.

"If you are caught using a cellular phone inside the polling station, you will be asked to leave and you will also lose your opportunity to vote. So it is very important that persons turn off and put away their cell phones before entering the polling station," she said.

Miss Senior is also encouraging voters to follow the instructions of the presiding officers.

Persons, who are unsure of where to vote, can call the EOJ's toll free helpline at 1-888-991-8683 or visit their website. They can also contact their constituency office.

The total number of electors on the Voters’ List is now 1,648,036. The most recent list has added 41,607 voters and deleted 5,636 persons confirmed as dead.

This month's General Election will be the island's 16th since Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944.

Approximately 150 candidates were nominated on Monday, December 12, 2011.

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People’s National Party (PNP) each nominated candidates in all 63 constituencies.

The Marcus Garvey People’s Progressive Party (MGPPP) had 10; the National Democratic Movement (NDM), seven; Independents numbered six; and the Jamaica Alliance Movement (JAM) had one.

 

By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter