Lawyers representing the People’s National Party’s incumbent Member of Parliament for East Westmorland, Luther Buchanan, in a magisterial recount are expected to make a second attempt at getting the Westmoreland Parish Court to accept ballots previously ruled as rejected.
On Saturday, the second day of the recount, presiding judge, Steve Walters, had rejected a submission made by Buchanan’s lawyers for a particular rejected ballot to be accepted.
The ballot in question which was found in box 48 had a mark that did not clearly resemble that of an X.
Maurice McCurdy, attorney at law representing Luther Buchanan.
McCurdy in his notice to the court said the court will be asked to have a look at a magisterial recount case which took place in 2016 as an example of his argument for the acceptance of the ballot.
In that case, it is said that the presiding judge accepted a mark resembling a tick as the voter’s intent.
Judge Walters in his ruling on Saturday had stated that he was unable to accept a ballot without a mark resembling that of an X based on what section 35 of the representation of the people’s act requires.
However, O’Neil Brown, the lead attorney representing the Jamaica Labour Party’s Daniel Lawrence in his rebuttal submission pointed to the representation of the people act which speaks clearly to what the court should look for.
Brown told Nationwide News following court that he is not perturbed by the PNP’s move.
O’Neil Brown, Lawyer representing Daniel Lawrence.
At the end of Saturday’s recount, the JLP’s Lawrence had picked up an additional 11 votes from ballots which were previously rejected in comparison to six for the PNP’s Buchanan.
Rejected ballots are the main factor that will determine the outcome of the magisterial recount.
Lawyers representing Lawrence had filed an application for a magisterial recount on September 8, after an official count by the Electoral Office of Jamaica declared Buchanan the winner in the constituency by one vote, following the intervention of the returning officer.
Both men had tied for votes with a total of 107 rejected ballots.
As a result of the tie, the returning officer for the constituency cast the deciding vote after blindly pulling one of two ballots with the names of both candidates from a box.
The ballot with Buchanan’s name was drawn.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party, Robert Montague, says he is confident that Daniel Lawrence will bring home the East Westmoreland seat for the JLP at the end of the magisterial recount.
However, Mr Montague who was among numerous stalwarts from the party who came out on Saturday in support of Mr Lawrence told Nationwide News that he is not perturbed by the PNP’s move to revisit the rejected ballot.
Robert Montague, Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party.