Low voter turnout should concern Jamaicans – Bruce GoldingMonday, February 29, 2016
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding says he is concerned about the low voter turnout in the 17th General Election adding that Jamaicans should also be concerned.
Thursday’s turnout of 47.7 per cent voters was the lowest since universal adult suffrage in 1944.
Golding, speaking to reporters and editors at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange, pointed out that although the voter turnout is based on an inflated voters’ list which has not been re-verified in about 10 years, it is a cause for concern.
“I think all of us need to be concerned about the low level of voter participation,” Golding said.
“We have been trending down over the last several elections, and it is certainly nowhere near what obtains in other Caribbean countries,” he explained, adding that the voter turnout in Antigua and Barbuda is about 90 per cent.
“It is worrisome, because it compromises the legitimacy of political authority in the country, because political authority is based on an ascent of slightly more than the majority,” he continued.
According to available data, the biggest voter turnout was 86.91 per cent in 1980, when the Edward Seaga-led Jamaica Labour Party booted Michael Manley’s People’s National Party 51-9 after several months of bitter campaigning that saw over 800 people die in political violence.