Heavy rains affect voter turnout in St Thomas

November 26, 2016
The Mahogany Vale main road is hardly accessible when there is good weather. Heavy rains over the past few days have rendered it impassable.
Marsha Francis
The Hagley Gap hills, leading to the Blue Mountain peak.

The poor state of the roads in western St Thomas coupled with torrential downpour over the past two days have contributed to the extremely low voter turnout in at least one section of the parish.

Marsha Francis, who is seeking re-election as councillor for the Cedar Valley division, told THE STAR yesterday that several election day workers were unable to exercise their franchise because the roads were impassable.

"Members from the community who are working on election day are not able to go and vote today because the roads are blocked - mainly the Mahogany Vale main road and the White River area," Francis said.

Some 38,877 special services electors were eligible to vote yesterday. Special services voters are made up of police, soldiers and election day workers.


Natural disaster


"We have been having rains about a month now and over the past two days the heavy rains have made the White River impassable. This river links the Cedar Valley and Hagley Gap communities," Francis said.

Under the law, polls may be halted if there is natural disaster, which could impact the holding a fair elections.

Orrett Fisher, the director of elections, told THE STAR yesterday that the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) would be guided by the law should current rainfall trigger a natural disaster.

Fisher told THE STAR that there has been no reports of persons being unable to vote because of weather-related issues yesterday. He said, however, that if it comes to his attention it would be brought to the ECJ for a decision.

Jamaicans will vote in local government elections on Monday.

The PNP won the 2012 Local Government Elections, gaining 149 seats to the Jamaica Labour Party's 76. The other two seats were won by Independent candidates.

Voter turnout in the last elections was approximately 34 per cent according to the Electoral Office of Jamaica.

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