Jamaicans are on high alert for the announcement of the next election day, and with the governing People’s National Party (PNP) said to be planning three warm-up rallies, many believe the Prime Minister will be calling the date either before the year ends or early 2016. PNP general secretary Paul Burke has made it clear there will be no election during the Christmas season (Christmas Day on December 25 to the eve of Epiphany on January 5), but Jamaicans have gone to the poll in December on previous occasions – most recently in 2011.
We did some diGging and found these interesting facts to help clarify election matters for you.
- Nomination day is the designated date for the official naming or selection of candidates to contest the general election. The law requires that nomination day be at least five clear days after the announcement of an election. For example, if the election is announced on Sunday, October 25, nomination day would be Friday the 30th at the earliest. It must also be 16 (minimum) to 23 (maximum) days before election day. So if we continue working with these hypothetical dates, election day would be November 10 at the earliest or the 17th at the latest.
- Following the announcement of election day, the Prime Minister must send a letter to the Governor General advising him to dissolve the current Parliament. The dissolution of Parliament can be anytime between the announcement and nomination day.
- There is currently no fixed election date in effect in Jamaica, but general elections are constitutionally due every five years. Since the last general election was on December 29, 2011, the next one is constitutionally due by December 28, 2016. However, an election can be called at any time during the five year span, so it is possible that the election could be called this year – before the Christmas season starts.
- In the 16 general elections held since the granting of Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944, six of them were held in December. The next most popular months are February (3) and October (2). January, March, April, July and September have had one election each. Here are the results for the December polls:
- 1944 – December 14 (JLP)
- 1949 – December 20 (JLP)
- 1976 – December 15 (PNP)
- 1983 – December 15 (JLP returned unopposed as the PNP boycotted)
- 1997 – December 18 (PNP)
- 2011 – December 29 (PNP)
- Come election day, be sure to follow the instructions given on how to cast your vote as there are four conditions under which your ballot may be rejected. According to provisions contained in the Representation of People Act, Section 44/2, the Parish Council Act, Section 40/2, and the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation Act, Section 62/2 allows for a Presiding Officer in counting the votes to reject all ballots;
- which have not been supplied by him,
- which have not been marked for any candidate,
- on which the elector has marked for more than one candidate, and
- on which there is any writing or mark by which the voter could be identified. Such markings would be those placed on the ballot by the voter which would serve to identify him.