Electronic voter ID system cranked up today
Thursday, December 29, 2011
VOTERS in eight constituencies will cast their ballots using the Electronic Identification of the Voter and Ballot Issuing System (EIVBIS), today.
The voter identification system will see a full roll-out in Eastern St Catherine, West Central St Andrew, South East St Andrew, Eastern St Andrew, Central Kingston, and Western St Andrew, and partial implementation in North West St Andrew and North Central St Andrew.
The EIVBIS identifies the elector and issues his/her ballot electronically.
On Wednesday, in a national broadcast, chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica, Professor Errol Miller, said there should be no fear of the system not working properly based on the numerous trials and test-runs conducted in the areas where the system will be employed.
"The Electoral Office has carried out several simulation exercises in these constituencies to allow voters to become familiar with the system and to work out all the logistical and technical issues," Professor Miller said.
"Do not be mistaken. This is not an Electronic Voting System as some say. It is an electronic identification and ballot issuing system. The ballots issued by this system are exactly like the ballots issued manually and are marked, counted and recounted, just like all other ballots," he added.
Professor Miller also emphasised that the full force of the law will be brought down on persons who may try to engage in illegal or corrupt practices on Election Day.
"Let there be no doubt whatsoever. The laws are clear. Elections must not take place in circumstances of riot, civil disturbance and open violence. Candidates must not win elections by fraud, violence or intimidation. The electoral laws will be enforced without fear or favour. Energies and efforts devoted to corrupt and illegal activities will be futile and bring nothing but grief to those involved," Professor Miller warned.
The total number of electors on the voters' list as at November 30, 2011, was 1,648,036 an increase over the May 31, 2011 tally of 1,612,065.
Some 41,607 electors were added to the list, while 5,636 were deleted.
The EIVBIS system was the subject of several voter complaints that it caused polling delays in some constituencies where it was piloted in the September 3, 2007 general election.
Long lines of electors reportedly waited several hours to cast their votes at some polling stations within the 13 constituencies where the EIVBIS was employed for the first time during that election after an initial test run by the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) in the 2003 poll.
The machines do not provide for voting electronically, but instead match the voter to fingerprints in a database. Persons who the system rejects for whatever reason are quizzed by the presiding officer to ascertain whether they are who they claim to be.
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