Police, military and election day workers vote today

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JUST over 45,000 election day workers, police officers and military personnel are expected to go to the polls today three days before the rest of the population vote.

A total of 31,084 election day workers, 11,512 police officers, and 4,181 soldiers are expected to cast their vote between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) has said voting will take place islandwide in 169 locations for the election day workers and 28 locations for the police and military.

Under the Representation of the People Act provisions are made for military and police personnel, as well as election day workers, to vote three days before the rest of the population to ensure that they are available for duty on election day.

The names of all selected election day workers, police and military personnel have been separated from the official voters list to be used on election day, ECJ said in a release.

According to the commission, members of the security forces will vote at the location closest to where they are based. The ballots will later be sorted and transferred to the respective returning officers to be counted on September 3.

The ECJ last week reminded all special services electors to wear a mask, sanitise their hands, and observe physical distancing guidelines at the polling stations. The Electoral Office of Jamaica has engaged approximately 7,400 sanitisation clerks and cleaner attendants to sanitise electors’ hands at the polling location, and to frequently clean furniture, bathrooms and high-touch areas.

Inside the polling station, the presiding officer will issue the ballot to the elector along with a pencil, and direct him/her to the voting booth, the ECJ said. That is, instead of the usual pencil attached to the voting booth and used by all electors, each elector will be given an individual pencil that is sanitised before and after use.

After marking the ballot, the elector will return it to the presiding officer and place the ‘used pencil’ into a special container on the presiding officer’s table. ‘Used pencils’ will be removed at regular intervals and sanitised. The elector’s hands will then be sanitised before immersing his/her right index finger in the electoral ink, the release explained.

Presiding officers and poll clerks will sanitise after each encounter with an elector, and as otherwise necessary, the release continued.

Director of Elections Glasspole Brown has cautioned the special services electors that they can only vote today.

“Police, military and election day workers who wish to vote must do so on August 31. They will not be able to vote on September 3, as their names will not be on the official voters’ list used on September 3,” Brown said.

He added that election day workers would have been notified via text message of the date, location and polling station at which they may cast their votes.

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