After polling day on September 3 gave us a preliminary result of JLP 49, PNP 14, in terms of seats in Parliament, the full recount started the next day. Most seats were originally decided by sizeable margins, and the recount didn’t change that or the results. But 3 constituencies had very close races, initially, and would likely end up, eventually, as magisterial recounts, being too close to call.
But, first, we have to go through the basic recounts to make preliminary results final in the books of the. Electoral Commission of Jamaica.
In St Ann South East, where ‘sweetah wid Lisa’ had turned sour and seen a 3000+ majority fizzle to 14, on Election Day, for Lisa Hanna, the recount boosted that to 32. Woohoo!
So, no blood, there, in terms of seats. For what it’s worth, my view is that such a slim showing in a previously solidly held seat doesn’t bode well for any upcoming ‘beauty contest’ for new PNP president. But, they’re a funny bunch, so one never knows.
In Westmoreland Eastern, the result on Thursday had been an 8 vote defeat for incumbent Luther Buchanan (PNP)—who’d won by over 2,500 votes in 2016—by a newcomer, Daniel Lawrence. But, after the recount, the result was A TIE! Unprecedented, it seems at national level, though not in local elections. In such situations, the returning officer (RO) has the deciding vote. Well, he wasn’t ready to cast his vote on Saturday night and decided to sleep on it, literally. Meanwhile, rumblings started and security forces were brought in to quell the tension.
The casting vote was set for 10am Sunday.
Well, in time-worn Jamaican fashion, that time came and no action. Meanwhile, minds were focused on how the RO would decide. He’d reportedly been guided on his options. The prosaic options of tossing a coin or pulling names were there, but people weighed in with ideas like a bun-eating contest. The day was gloomy, and needed some fun to break the malaise. Anyway, just after 10.30, in came all the parties and the party began and was over in no time.
Buchanan had gotten the nod, so for now is the winner by 1 vote, 4835 to 4834.
The RO had decided by picking names from a box, then appropriately marking a ballot paper for the record, and depositing it with a note (not asking to be rescued, presumably 🙂 )
Next steps include the formal filing for magisterial count. We know 100+ ballot were rejected in Westmoreland Eastern and getting any of those accepted will prove crucial. Don’t move!
For now, the overall result stands at 48:15 seats in favour of JLP.