25 ballot boxes counted on day one of recount process
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, May 6, 2020
A total of twenty-five (25) ballot boxes were counted during day one of the national recount process of the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.
Seven boxes for Region 1; Region 2, six, Region 3, seven and Region 4, five boxes.
This was confirmed by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Public Relations Officer (PRO), Yolanda Ward this evening during a media briefing after the day’s activity at Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), Liliendaal.
“I anticipate that tomorrow we will be able to pick up some speed in this regard,” Ward said.
She explained that some challenges delayed today’s process. These included several administrative issues and some raised by parties that saw the commission meeting briefly to make decisions regarding those matters.
In particular, there was an issue relating to the absence of polling books, specifically in Region 1. The poll books provide the notes of the Presiding Officers as to what transpired during the electoral process on Election Day.
Ward disclosed that GECOM has since arranged to have those poll books transported to Georgetown from Region 1 tomorrow or as early as Friday.
“The information I received is that one of those poll books might be missing from the total…what we had was a situation where party agents were objecting to the absence of those poll books as part of their reconciliation process…so the commission was able to make a decision on that.”
As it relates to allegations that dead persons or those who would have migrated having voted, Ward explained the commission has a list they are working with from the Claims and Objection exercise.
“A name is on a list, for GECOM, we do not know who is dead or alive because there was no objection and even if there was an objection there has to be adequate proof that person is dead for us to remove that person…so the name on a list GECOM has no control over that particular issue.”
However, she noted that the system at Polling Stations should not prevent this from occurring because it is a scrutinised process. Party agents are present and therefore, once a person goes through the process to vote, these issues should not arise.
Ward confirmed that the issue was highlighted by one particular party and, “it is something that the commission has to deliberate on and provide some guidance.”
The PRO pointed out that another issue was the counting of the boxes in its sequential order.
This morning, the commission’s decision to begin with South Georgetown for the counting of Region Four ballots was objected to by party agents. It was then decided that the count will start from the East Bank on Thursday.
Importantly the issue was raised regarding persons in the room circulating videos on social media as to what was taking place at the work stations.
Ward explained this was not permitted by the commissioners and these persons were warned against such acts.
Going forward, she said persons will be escorted out of the station if they are found engaging in such practices.
The process will continue at 08:00 hours on Thursday morning.