|Constituted Authority says no to voiding 10 poll results
Thursday, November 14, 2002
THE Constituted Authority, the judicial review arm of the Electoral Advisory Committee (EAC), yesterday rejected 10 applications to recommend the voiding of general election results in constituencies covering St Andrew, St Catherine, St Mary and St Elizabeth.
"Of those allegations that were substantiated, none rose to the level that would warrant an application to the Election Court," said Justice Rance Langrin, chairman of the Constituted Authority, in a statement yesterday.
"In the circumstances, the authority concluded that there had not been a substantial distortion or subversion of the process of a free and fair election," he added without identifying the constituencies.
Section 37 of the Election Petitions Act provides for the voiding of an election outcome if:
* the total number of votes cast in the constituency or electoral division exceeds the voters' list for the area;
* the ballot boxes have been stolen, destroyed or tampered with, affecting the integrity of the amount of votes for the declared winning and losing candidates;
* a presiding officer signed ballots under duress to cast doubt on the votes counted for the candidate declared elected;
* votes have been cast by persons whose names are not on the voters' list; and
* an upsurge in violence subverted the process of free and fair election in any electoral division and constituency.
Jamaicans voted on October 16 in general elections that were generally regarded as free and fair. However, international election observers, the Carter Centre, reported voting irregularities in some Corporate Area constituencies.
Yesterday's ruling by the Constituted Authority means that the 34-26 seat ratio in Parliament could remain in favour of the ruling People's National Party if no candidate petitions the Election Court on his/her own volition.
Langrin aside, the Constituted Authority comprises the three independent members of the EAC -- Professor Errol Miller, Dorothy Pine-McLarty and Dr Herbert Thompson -- as well as Dennis Lalor, a member of the governor-general's privy council.