KINGSTON, Jamaica Jamaican election officials are hailing Tuesdays poll for election day workers and members of the security forces as a success, despite reports that some police personnel and election day staff could not exercise their franchise, as their names were not on the August 28 voters list.
Director of Elections, Danville Walker, told The Gleaner that the police and military had a “very good day” and that the voting process went smoothly.
“In my opinion, it is the smoothest day of voting for the police that I have presided over as the director of elections,” Walker said.
But People’s National Party candidate caretaker for North Central Clarendon, Ralph Thomas, said voting for election day workers in that constituency was met with challenges as the names of about 70 persons were left off the list.
Mr. Thomas contended that the workers who were slated to vote yesterday were responsible for conducting elections in some 70 polling divisions in the constituency.
He questioned how the EOJ would facilitate these election day workers to vote on September 3, without disrupting the voting process.
There were also reports of election day workers in North Trelawny and North West Manchester whose names were not on the voters’ list.
A similar situation played out in parts of the Corporate Area, specifically at the Mamby Park Baptist Church on Constant Spring Road, where some election day workers were prevented from exercising their franchise.
Mr. Walker said there was no need for alarm, pointing out that the EOJ had either decided not to use some persons who were previously recruited to work on election day or they were unavailable to work. This, he said meant that their names would have been on the civilian list.
“Anybody who we want to work on September 3, who did not get a chance to vote today (August 28) we can put in place the logistics to make them vote,” he explained.
By mid morning yesterday a high profile team of election officials, led by Mr. Walker and Political Ombudsman, Bishop Herro Blair, along with representatives from the Electoral Commission and Citizens Action for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE), visited several polling stations in the Corporate Area.
At Mobile Reserve in Kingston, Mr. Walker responded to concerns that several police officers were unable to cast their ballots as their names were not on the voters list in the divisions to which they were transferred.
He said this was an administrative problem that should have been addressed by the force.
According to Mr. Walker affected police personnel should have sought the permission of their commanding officers to go to the parishes where their names were registered.
In his assessment of the voting exercise, Bishop Blair said he observed persons voting without any incident. “People are acting in a civil manner and it would appear as if the turnout of members of the security forces and election day workers will set the pace for the national voting (on Monday, Sept 3),” he said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Blair said his office received no complaints of breaches of the Political Code of Conduct since the passage of Hurricane Dean on Sunday, August 19.