Election 2020: Low Voter Turn Out And The State of Democracy

Election 2020: Voter participation for the September 3rd, General Elections was 37%- significantly lower than 2016 with 47.7%. Despite a decline in numbers, the results are the same – the JLP has been chosen to form the next government. However, with the JLP’s historic win the state of democracy is a concern. Prime Minister, Andrew Holness indicated that this is a matter the party understands.

“With such a large mandate it brings a whole new dynamic to how we manage the government,” said Holness. “I want to be clear because there are so many who will be assuming state responsibilities who might not have the understanding as to how that authority is to be used. They will know clearly that this government does not stand for corruption.”

In the 2016 General Election, the JLP won by 32 to 31- a close poll but more members of the Opposition retained their seats. There were concerns about oversight -and questions about people voting for the JLP to demonstrate disapproval with the PNP.
According to Civil Rights Advocate, Carol Narcisse, citizens must hold the government accountable. She said, “These are serious times and in this serious moment you have given a mandate to a government. So, no sleeping on the job or being conscientious citizens.”

Narcisse adds that with the JLP now commanding a two-thirds majority, the Opposition will not have much power. She stated, “It will be up to us (citizens) what quality of governance we will have, what we will tolerate or won’t. We will have to pay attention to what laws are being passed. We will have to comment on them. We will have to utilize the Access to Information Act to get information on what is going on.” 

Up to September 7, 2020, the Electoral Office of Jamaica reported the recounting for 48 of the 63 constituencies have been completed. The preliminary counting saw a 49-14 seat win for the Jamaica Labour Party on Thursday, September 3.