Sat | May 25, 2024

More J’cans willing to vote in next general election

Published:Saturday | March 11, 2023 | 1:23 AMAsha Wilks/Gleaner Writer

More Jamaicans who are eligible to vote have signalled that they would go to the polls if national elections are held shortly when compared with the total number of registered electors who cast their ballots in the September 3, 2020, general...

More Jamaicans who are eligible to vote have signalled that they would go to the polls if national elections are held shortly when compared with the total number of registered electors who cast their ballots in the September 3, 2020, general election.

The findings of a People’s National Party-commissioned Don Anderson poll showed that 44.4 per cent of the electorate would vote if national elections are called soon. However, this represents less than half of the electorate who would vote.

In the September 3, 2020 general election, only 37.2 per cent of the registered electors cast ballots. While the COVID-19 pandemic might have influenced the low voter turnout in 2020, in 2016 when the general election was held 48.37 per cent or less than half of the eligible voters cast ballots.

The survey done by the Don Anderson-led Market Research Services Limited between February 17 and 26 among persons 18 years and older who are eligible to vote also revealed that 34.2 per cent of the electorate would not vote if elections are called shortly.

Another 21.4 per cent of persons eligible to vote said they were not sure when asked: “If national elections were to be held shortly, would you go out to vote?”

At the same time when eligible electors were asked: “Have you ever voted in national elections in Jamaica?” 78.4 per cent answered in the affirmative.

Another 19.5 per cent said ‘no’ while 2.1 per cent of the electorate said they were not sure or could not recall.

The survey, which included 1,002 respondents, has a sampling error of plus or minus three per cent.

The Gleaner spoke with young persons who have indicated that politicians need to work harder and more efficiently to win the favour, trust and interest of the next generation to support democracy.

According to Kevar Bennett, politicians should pay more attention to young people and their families and to do so more frequently than at the last minute in rushed attempts to gain voters to participate in general and local government elections.

He argued that representing the people was a daily responsibility.

“It should not be politicised more so whenever an election is announced, or when it is called [that] you see a representative turning up at your door or at your back step,” he said.

Bennett stated that the population of registered but non-voting Jamaican youth continued to be uninterested in the democratic process for several reasons to include a lack of political knowledge which also resulted in political misconceptions and a lack of commitment to political policies. In addition, he stated that the youth are also pushed further from the political process when there are high levels of corruption, injustices and lack of accountability.

Senator Gabriela Morris, president of the PNP’s youth arm, told The Gleaner that some young people are still not confident in the political systems and political leaders.

She stated that young people “have just become fed up with the system”, and don’t feel that they are being adequately engaged and consulted.

“In many respects, some young people also feel as if they have no control over the system. So in an effort to make up for that disconnect...then they stay away from the process altogether,” she said.

Morris further noted that through her engagements with young people, it was clear that the changes that they longed to see such as fixed election dates and stemming crime and violence were not being addressed.

In yesterday’s Gleaner poll story headlined ‘No third term’, we incorrectly stated that “most J’cans say the Holness administration does not deserve re-election”.

The body of the story accurately reflected that 45.3 per cent of Jamaicans did not think the current administration deserved re-election.

This represented the most significant opinion, compared with 29.9 per cent who said another term was deserved and 24.8 per cent who said they did not know.

The Gleaner recognises that 45.3 per cent of the electorate does not equate to “most”.

asha.wilks@gleanerjm.com