After the tragic and untimely death of Member of Parliament Lynvale Bloomfield, the people of Portland Eastern will choose another Member of Parliament in a By-Election. This contest will see Damian Crawford of the previous MP’s People’s National Party go up against Ann-Marie Vaz of the governing Jamaica Labour Party. Here are some facts our analysis of the numbers have revealed:
1. The PNP has won the seat 11 times, 7 times consecutively going back to 1989. The JLP has won the seat 4 times.
2. Since 2002 the Electoral Commission of Jamaica has kept statistics by polling division for each constituency, Portland Eastern has 5 polling divisions. On each occasion since then, the PNP has won 3 polling divisions (Port Antonio, Prospect and Fellowship), and the JLP has won 2 polling divisions (Fairy Hill and Manchioneal).
3. Portland Eastern is the only constituency that has sent an independent candidate to parliament twice – Sir Harold Egbert Allan, farmer and theatre promoter was a minister of state when he won the second time.
4. Since the 2007 general election the number of eligible voters has increased by 40%, from 25,910 to 36,315 in 2019. In 1944, the number of eligible voters was 19,112 and in 1997 the number of eligible voters was 21,811. In 2002 the number of eligible voters increased by 11% from 2002 to 2007 and has increased every election cycle since then.
5. The number of ballots cast has gone from a low of 10,536 in 1993 (not counting the zero cast in 1983) to a high of 18,229 in 1980. Since 2007, the number of ballots cast went from a low of 15,110 in the 2016 general election to a high of 17,469 in the 2011 general election.
6. Voter turnout since 1962 was consistently in line with the national turnout until 1989 when it fell several points below. This held true until 2007 when it came back in line with the national average and in 2011 went above the national average. Unfortunately, the constituency fell significantly below the national average once again in 2016 with an abysmal turnout of 43.9%.