JPA elections set for Oct. 15, votes to be counted electronically

The Jordan Press Association is planning to implement an electronic voting system for its elections on October 15. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Jordan Press Association (JPA) announced they will hold their latest and much awaited round of elections for the association’s council and senior positions on October 15, for which the JPA will count the votes electronically, according to Khaled Al-Qudah, a member of the current council. اضافة اعلان

Elections were set to take place last year, Qudah told Jordan News, but said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the country to lock down and impose a ban of gatherings and meetings, the JPA had to keep a temporary council in place. 

The previous council’s tenure ended last year, Qudah pointed out, but its term was extended for a year and a half due to an inability to hold fresh elections caused by a ban on any meetings. “When these (restrictions) were lifted, we planned for these upcoming elections,” Qudah said. 

This year votes will be counted electronically for the first time to abide by the association’s laws. This will be done in collaboration with the Syndicate of Engineers and an undisclosed private company. 

JPA members will cast their ballots thrice: once to vote for the new head of the JPA, once for the deputy head of the JPA, and once for a new council, Qudah said. 

The association has a total of 1,142 members who are eligible to vote in the upcoming elections. “Usually 85 to 90 percent come to vote each year, and this is what we expect to see,” Qudah said.  

“We found that the engineers syndicate has an experienced team that can arrange these electronic elections; using special papers and devices,” he said. A meeting between the two unions is set to be held early next week to discuss details of the new voting mechanism, including cost, Qudah said. 

The cost of this new counting system is still not known, what is certain is that it won’t be for free. In addition, the cost will be covered from members’ annual subscriptions, he said.

“We will hire a company connected to the engineer’s syndicate that will be responsible for the authenticity of the election and its credibility. We will look into the costs during the meeting next week,” Qudah said. 

Jordan News spoke to association member, journalist Hamzeh Daana, to take his reaction. He was in favor of this step, which he said will provide more accuracy and speed up the process. “There’s no way forgery would take place in these elections. This association represents the public opinion, this electronic procedure is to make the process faster and simpler,” he said. 

In an attempt to make the election process smoother and simpler, and out of a commitment to COVID-19 health protocols, Qudah said the current council placed three committees, a main committee, and two sub-committees, to support the electoral process. Each committee will deal with a list of people alphabetically. 

Danaa was not aware, however, that the cost of the new vote counting system would be deducted from the members’ subscriptions fund that he and the rest of the association membership pay into. 

“I didn’t know that, and I am not in favor of this,” Danaa said. “The (association’s) general assembly should approve this matter. But as long as this electronic count provides further accuracy in the counting process, I will be okay with it.”

“The law says that we have to form the main committee and two sub-committees that will provide support and help to the main committee so it won’t be overwhelmed, also to make things easier for people, so there’s no crowding so we obey COVID-19 health protocols,” Qudah said.

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