The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) is embarking on a national voter identification (ID) card renewal exercise which will encompass all 14 parishes across the island.
“We are encouraging all registered voters with ID cards issued 2015 and earlier to visit any EOJ constituency office or voter ID card renewal centre,” said the Director of Elections Glasspole Brown, adding that the exercise will begin on November 4.
“All electors, who have cards with issue dates between 2016 and 2019 will not need to visit the EOJ office for renewal. Their new cards will be reprinted and these electors will be notified when they are ready,” he noted.
Brown said that electors will be able to renew their cards at any EOJ office regardless of where they are registered to vote.
“For example, if somebody was initially registered in western Hanover and they currently live in Kingston, they can attend any of the renewal sites and get their card renewed.”
Brown said that approximately 272 temporary voter ID card renewal centres will be established in addition to the 73 EOJ constituency offices to assist with the process, which “is simple, convenient and free”.
The facilities will be open Monday to Saturday. And Brown said anyone wishing to update or make corrections to their information, such as date of birth, change of name, or spelling, may do so at any of the 73 EOJ constituency offices.
However, the established process for transferring registration remains, but the EOJ will facilitate registration transfers during the renewal exercise.
Meanwhile, Brown is advising that persons can continue to use their existing voter ID cards until the new ones are issued.
“A decision has been taken to extend the life of the ID cards until December 2020. So, we have sought to extend the validity of the card for a further year to allow for a smooth transition from the old card to the new ones,” he said.
“We are encouraging all entities, be it banks and other financial institutions, government entities and private businesses, to continue to accept the voter ID cards while the new cards are phased in over the next year,” he added.
Meanwhile, the two major political parties – the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the main Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) have signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing, in principle, to participate in three political debates that would be organised and staged by the Jamaica Debates Commission (JDC) ahead of the next general election.
The debates will cover topics ranging from economic to social issues. One, however, will be for the contenders of the position of prime minister.
The last general election was held on February 25, 2016, with the JLP defeating the then incumbent PNP by a 32-31 margin.