REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I
Preliminary

   1   Short title

   2   Interpretation

   3   Writs of election

   4   Polling divisions

 

PART II
Franchise and Registration of Electors

   5   Registration of electors and voting

   6   Persons in receipt of pay disqualified

   6A   Establishment of registration centres

   7   Official lists

   8   Manner of preparation of official list

   9   Identification cards

   10   Power of Chief Electoral Officer to require information

   11   Appointment of enumerators

   12   Appointment of scrutineers

   13   Duties of enumerators

   14   Duties of scrutineers

   15   Powers of entry and power to question persons by enumerators

   15A   Report by elector of loss of thumb etc

   16   Penalty for obstructing enumerator, etc

   17   Period of validity of official lists

   18   Official list to be supplied to candidates

 

PART III
Electoral Procedure

   19   Appointment of polling day

   20   Power to adjourn polling day in event of emergency

   21   Day and place for nomination

   21A   Day on which poll for taking of votes to be held

   22   Returning officer to give notice of election

   23   Procedure at nomination

   24   Disposal of deposit

   25   Withdrawal of candidates

   26   Procedure on death of nominated candidate

   27   Return by acclamation

   28   Granting of a poll

   29   Establishment of polling stations

   30   Division of lists

   31   Ballot boxes

   32   Supplies of election material

 

PART IV
Procedure on Polling Day

   33   Taking of poll and the ballot

   34   Who may vote

   35   General mode of taking ballot

   36   Mode of taking ballot in special cases

   37   Ballot papers not to be delivered to electors unless no marks of electoral ink appear on electors

   38   Electors to immerse appropriate digit in electoral ink

   39   Penalty for failure of presiding officer to carry out provisions of sections 37 and 38

   40   Non-application of sections 37, 38 and 39 to electors with no hands

   41   Who may be present

   41A   Outdoor agents

   42   Proceedings before opening of poll

   43   Proceedings at poll

   44   Proceedings after poll

 

PART IVA
Halting of the Taking of the Poll on Polling Day

   44A   Power to halt the taking of the poll on polling day

   44B   Grounds for halting of the taking of the poll

   44C   Period within which poll to be retaken after being halted

 

PART V
Procedure Subsequent to Polling Day

   45   Final count of votes

   46   Provisions applicable where ballot box not returned

   47   Recount by Resident Magistrate

   48   Manner of making recount

   49   Election return

   50   Penalty for delay, neglect or refusal of returning officer to return elected candidate

   51   Custody of ballot boxes

   52   Custody of election documents by Chief Electoral Officer

 

PART VA
Voiding of Taking of a Poll

   52A   Provisions relating to voiding of a poll

   52B   Period within which poll to be retaken after being declared void

 

PART VI
Financial Provisions

   53   Election agents and sub-agents

   54   Making of contracts and payment of expenses through election agents

   55   Total amount of expenditure that may be incurred

   56   Who may incur election expenditure

   57   Expenditure that may be incurred by candidate

   58   Who may incur expenditure

   59   Consequences of unauthorised expenditure

   60   Election agent to make a return

   61   Period for sending in claims and making payments for election expenses

 

PART VII
Administrative Provisions

   62   Chief Electoral Officer

   63   Powers and duties of Chief Electoral Officer

   64   Returning officer

   65   Election clerk

   66   Substitute election clerk

   67   Presiding officer

   68   Poll clerks

   69   Oaths to be taken before Justice, returning officer, presiding officer or poll clerk

 

PART VIII
Election Offences

   70   Providing of money for illegal practice or payment to be illegal payment

   71   [Repealed by Act 23 of 2011 s 7.]

   72   [Repealed by Act 23 of 2011 s 7.]

   73   [Repealed by Act 23 of 2011 s 7.]

   74   [Repealed by Act 23 of 2011 s 7.]

   75   Conveyance of non-voters

   76   Power to question passengers and detain vehicles

   77   Maintenance of order at polling stations

   77A   Failure of member to comply with lawful request of presiding officer

   78   Influencing of electors to vote for any candidate

   79   Corrupt withdrawal from a candidature

   80   [Repealed by Act 18 of 1981.]

   81   Notice of election meetings

   82   Name and address of printer on placard

   83   [Repealed by Act 31 of 1996 s 25.]

   84   Certain licensed premises to be closed

   85   Punishment of illegal payment, employment or hiring

   86   Making claim knowing it to be false

   87   Unlawfully obtaining or destroying identification documents

   88   Wilfully damaging certain articles and equipment

   88A   Obstruction of election officers, etc

   89   Mutilating or altering notices and lists

   90   False statements before returning officer and false objections by scrutineers

   91   Bribery and treating

   92   Undue influence

   93   Personation

   94   Penalty for bribery, treating, or undue influence

   95   Penalty for personation

   96   Disqualifying effect of conviction for bribery, treating, etc

   97   Illegal practices

   98   Specified misdemeanours under this Act

   98A   Failure of presiding officer to be present at polling stations, etc

   99   Duty of secrecy

   100   Offences by election officers

   101   Offences by election agents and candidates

   102   Penalty for participation in election campaign by returning officer or presiding officer

   103   Consequences of illegal practice

 

PART IX
Miscellaneous

   104   Regulations

   105   Transfer of electors in special cases

   106   Where transferred electors to vote

   107   Validation of certain acts

   108   Military voters list

   109   Special provision relating to Police Constables

   110   Special provision in relation to District Constables

   111   Voters to vote only in division upon list for which their names appear

   112   Military voters

   113   Police and Special Constable electors

   113A   Election workers voters list

   114   Finger prints to be used for electoral purposes only

      SCHEDULES

 

THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT

[Date of Commencement: 20th November, 1944]

Cap 342.

Laws
55 of 1953,
40 of 1954,
22 of 1957,
30 of 1957,
12 of 1962.

Acts
8 of 1963,
54 of 1963,
36 of 1965,
3 of 1966,
24 of 1966,
2 of 1967,
37 of 1968,
42 of 1969,
5 of 1970,
10 of 1972,
11 of 1972,
30 of 1975
40 of 1976,
21 of 1979,
13 of 1980,
18 of 1980,
25 of 1980,
5 of 1983,
14 of 1984,
1 of 1989,
20 of 1991,
31 of 1996,
28 of 1997,
28 of 2002,
17 of 2003,
12 of 2005,
11 of 2007,
23 of 2011.

LNs
102/1964,
39/1965,
40/1965,
34/1967,
144/1968,
231/1971
261/1972,
3011A/76,
18/1980,
81/1980,
93/1980,
27/1981,
76/1983,
282/1984,
51B/1987,
26/1988,
4/1989,
48/1997,
133/1997.

PART I
Preliminary (sections 1-4)

1   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Representation of the People Act.

2   Interpretation

   (1) In this Act-

   "appropriate digit" means in the case of an elector

         (i)    who has a right hand upon which there are any digits that finger on the right hand which is nearest to the right thumb, or if the elector has no right thumb to the right thumb socket, or if the elector has a right thumb but has no fingers on his right hand, the right thumb;

         (ii)    who has no right hand or has a right hand but has no digits upon such hand, the finger on the left hand which is nearest to the left thumb, or if the elector has no left thumb to the left thumb socket, or if he has a left thumb but no fingers upon his left hand the left thumb;

   "by-election" means an election other than a general election,

   "candidate" or "candidate at an election" means any person who is nominated as a candidate for election to the House of Representatives;

   "Committee" means the Electoral Advisory Committee established under the Representation of the People (Interim Electoral Reform) Act;

[21/1979 s 2.]

   "constituency" has the meaning assigned to it by the Constitution of Jamaica;

[54/1963 s 12.]

   "designated police officer", in relation to any constituency, means the officer of the Jamaica Constabulary Force designated by the Commissioner of Police for the purposes of this Act;

   "digit" includes both fingers and thumb;

   "during an election" or "at an election" or "throughout an election" includes the period after the issue of the writ for an election', or after the dissolution of the House of Representatives or the occurrence of a vacancy in consequence of which a writ for an election is eventually issued, until the elected candidate is returned as elected;

   "election" means an election of a member to serve in the House of Representatives of Jamaica;

   "election day" means the day upon which the poll is taken at any election or, if no poll is required to be taken, nomination day;

   "election documents" or "election papers" means the papers which the returning officer is required by subsection (1) of section 49 to transmit to the Chief Electoral Officer after an election;

   "election officer" includes the Chief Electoral Officer, every returning officer, assistant returning officer presiding officer, poll clerk, enumerator, or other person having any duty to perform pursuant to this Act, to the faithful performance of which duty he may be sworn;

[54/1963 s 12.]

   "election petition" means a petition presented in accordance with the provisions of any enactment for the time being in force in relation to election petitions;

   "elector" means any person whose name is for the time being on any official list of electors for the House of Representatives;

[22/1957 s 4.]

   "electoral ink" means the ink whether composite or consisting of two or more separate solutions supplied by the Chief Electoral Officer for use in accordance with the provisions of section 38;

[40/1954 s 2.]

   "illegal payment" means any payment made in contravention of the provisions of this Act;

   "member" means a member of the House of Representatives;

   "nomination day" means the day appointed in accordance with the provisions of section 21 for the nomination of candidates;

   "oath" includes affirmation and statutory declaration;

   "official agent" means the agent appointed by a candidate and specially charged with the paying of all legal expenses on account of the management or conduct of the election, whose name and address have been declared in writing to the returning officer on or before nomination day or as by this Act required;

   "official list" means the list of electors for any polling division prepared in accordance with sections 7 and 8 as modified by the Chief Electoral Officer in accordance with the Rules in the First Schedule or the appropriate portion of any such list which has been divided in accordance with the provisions of section 30;

[22/1957 s 4(b); 54/1963 s 12.]

   "personal expenses" as used herein with respect to the expenditure of any candidate in relation to the election at which he is a candidate, includes the reasonable travelling expenses of such candidate and the reasonable expenses of his living at hotels or elsewhere for the purposes of and in relation to such election, and all other expenses which, except as restrained by this Act, he may in person lawfully incur and pay;

   "poll book" means the book in the form set cat in the Second Schedule in which the name and other particulars of every person applying to vote are consecutively entered by the poll clerk as soon as the applicant's right to vote at the polling station has been ascertained and before any such applicant is allowed to vote;

   "polling day" means the day fixed for holding the poll at an election;

   "polling division" means any polling division constituted in accordance with the provisions of section 4;

   "polling station" means any premises secured by the returning officer for the taking of the vote of the electors on polling day and to which the whole or a portion of the official list of electors for a polling division is allotted;

[17/2003 s 2.]

   "print" with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions includes mimeograph;

[22/1957 s 4(b).]

   "prospective candidate" means any person who within three months next before nomination day publicly announces or permits others publicly to announce his intention to stand as a candidate at the next ensuing election;

   "qualified person" means any person who is qualified in accordance with the provisions of section 37 of the Constitution of Jamaica to be registered as an elector;

[54/1963 s 12.]

   "recount" includes either or both-

   (a)    adding again the votes given for each candidate as recorded in the statements of the polls returned by the several presiding officers;

   (b)    examining and counting the used and counted, the unused, the rejected and the spoiled ballot papers in accordance with the provisions of section 48;

   "rejected ballot paper" means a ballot paper which has been handed by the presiding officer to an elector to cast his vote but which at the close of the poll has been found in the ballot box unmarked or so improperly marked that in the opinion of the presiding officer or returning officer it cannot be counted;

   "spoiled ballot paper" means a ballot paper which, on polling day, has not been deposited in the ballot box but has been found by the presiding officer to be soiled or improperly printed, or which has been handed by the presiding officer to an elector to cast his vote, and-

   (a)    has been spoiled in marking by the elector; and

   (b)    has been handed back to the presiding officer and exchanged for another;

   "voter" means any person who votes at an election;

   "writ" means the writ for an election.

   (2) Rules 1 to 7 of the rules set out in the First Schedule shall apply to the interpretation of the words "ordinarily resident" and "ordinarily resided" in any section in which those words are used with respect to the right of an elector to be registered or of a voter to vote.

[22/1957 s 4(b).]

3   Writs of election

   (1) Elections shall be instituted by writs of election, which shall be in the form set out in the Second Schedule.

   (2) Writs of election shall be dated and shall be directed to the persons appointed to be returning officers for the several constituencies and shall be forwarded to them by the Chief Electoral Officer forthwith after their issue.

   (3) Every returning officer to whom a writ is directed shall forthwith upon its receipt, or upon notification by the Chief Electoral Officer of the issue thereof, whichever may be the sooner, cause to be promptly taken such of the proceedings directed by this Act as are necessary so that the election may be regularly held, and any returning officer who wilfully neglects so to do shall be liable on summary conviction before a Resident Magistrate to a fine of fifty dollars, or to imprisonment with hard labour for three months, or to both such fine and imprisonment.

4   Polling divisions

   (1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (2) and (3) there shall be constituted in each constituency so man, polling divisions with such boundaries as the Chief Electoral Officer may by order appoint.

[22/1957 s 4(b).]

   (2) Each polling division shall, so far as practicable, contain approximately four hundred qualified persons.

[11/2007 s 2.]

   (3) Where the Chief Electoral Officer is satisfied that by reason of the congestion or of the sparsity of population or other special circumstance, it is more convenient so to do, he may, notwithstanding anything in subsection (2), constitute a polling division including either more or less than four hundred qualified persons.

[11/2007 s 2.]

   (4) In determining the boundaries of any polling division the Chief Electoral Officer shall have regard to geographical considerations and such other factors as may affect the facility of communication between various places within the polling division.

   (5) In order to give effect to the provisions of subsections (2), (3) and (4) the Chief Electoral Officer may, immediately before the commencement of the preparation of the official list, vary the boundaries of any polling division.

[22/1957 s 4(b).]

PART II
Franchise and Registration of Electors (sections 5-18)

5   Registration of electors and voting

   (1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (3) every qualified person shall be entitled to be registered in accordance with the rules contained in the First Schedule as an elector for the polling division in which he is ordinarily resident.

[54/1963 s 2; 10/1972 s 4.]

   (2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (3) and of section 6 every person shall be entitled to vote at an election of a member of the House of Representatives for any constituency if his name appears upon the official list for a polling division comprised in such constituency unless

   (a)    subsequent to his registration he ceases to be a Commonwealth citizen or to be ordinarily resident in Jamaica; or

[10/1972 s 4.]

   (b)    on election day he is an inmate of any mental hospital or undergoing any sentence of imprisonment.

   (3) The following persons are incapable of being registered as electors and disqualified from voting at an election and shall not be so registered or vote at an election, that is to say

   (a)    the Chief Electoral Officer;

   (b)    any person who is, under any enactment for the time being in force in Jamaica, certified to be insane or otherwise adjudged to be of unsound mind or detained as a criminal lunatic;

[10/1972 s 4.]

   (c)    any person who is under sentence of death imposed on him by a Court in any part of the Commonwealth or is serving a sentence of imprisonment (by whatever name called) of or exceeding six months imposed on him by such a Court or substituted by competent authority for some other sentence imposed on him by such a Court or is under such a sentence of imprisonment the execution of which is suspended;

   (d)    any person who is disqualified for registration by or under any enactment for the time being in force in Jamaica because he has been convicted of any offence connected with the election of members of the House of Representatives or of any local authority or body for local purposes; and

   (e)    any person who is disqualified from voting by reason of his employment for pay or reward in connection with the election in the constituency in which such person would otherwise be entitled to vote:

   Provided that at an election the person who is performing the functions of a returning officer in a constituency shall, whether registered as an elector or not, vote only where there is in that constituency an equality of votes on the final count of votes or on a recount, as in this Act provided.

   (4) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as making it obligatory for any person to be registered under this Act.

   (5) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary no person shall be entitled to be registered as an elector for more than one polling division.

   (6) Any person who attempts to be registered as an elector in a polling division more than once or for more than one polling division shall be guilty of an offence and upon summary conviction before a Resident Magistrate shall be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

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