40 boxes completed on Day two of recount

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, May 7, 2020

The second day of the national recount of the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections concluded with 40 boxes completed, bringing the total recounted so far to 65.

Data shows that nine boxes from Region One were completed along with 10 from Region Two, nine from Region Three and 12 from Region Four.

Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Yolanda Ward told the media this evening that the process saw a much earlier start today compared to Wednesday. She said it was a smooth process.

Along with the recounting, the commission also commenced the tabulation of the Statements of Recount (SOR) today, an exercise it said, will be done each day between 17:00 and 18:30hours.

The decision to start the tabulation was made today during a commission meeting, following a request from political parties.

The National Recount Order, however, states that the tabulation would have commenced following the recount of all the ballots in any one district. Though it is a legal document, the PRO said that there will be no amendment to the Order.

During the tabulation process, GECOM has also decided that it will either be displaying the observation report from the respective workstation on screen or reading out the contents.

Ward said she has already received feedback on the effectiveness of the observation report for the viewing audience.

Meanwhile, as the recount continues, the PRO said she is confident that the process will become easier as the days progress, which will also allow for the completion of more boxes.

Meanwhile, the PRO also responded to statements by some officials of political parties who claim that the continuous queries being made are delaying the process.  She noted that all the inquires and objections brought before the CEO and the commission have seen resolution.

“I cannot say that the process is being dragged out because of queries being made. Like any exercise, the recount people will have queries and it is important that whatever those queries are, they are adequately addressed.  The commission has put much emphasis on credibility and transparency for these elections and therefore, we want to ensure that every agent in the room is satisfied with whatever decisions are taken at the respective workstation,” she told the media.

Ward said if any issue needs to be ventilated for it to “come to a conclusion agreed to by all,” those queries must be made.

It was because of continuous queries and his insistence that party counting agent Ganesh Mahipaul was able to unearth discrepancies at workstation five today during the reconciliation process.

That workstation, which was supervised by the Returning Officer of Region Three for the 2020 elections, saw resistance from the supervisor for a request to check the contents of envelopes comparing them with the numbers written on those envelopes.

“What our supervisor wanted to do is just tell us the number that is on the envelope and we must accept that. I had to object strongly to that because if you have 250 counterfoils written on the envelopes, when you go into the envelopes you must count and get that as well. That verifies that the number is accurate. The station supervisor, who is also the RO for district three, did not want to do that,” Mahipaul told media operatives this afternoon.

He said when agents counted the contents; there were differences for multiple envelopes.

“It makes me assume that there is a reason why the RO for district three does not want us to examine station five which is counting district three ballots…I can tell you that there are cases where, when you actually do the count there were differences.”

Mahipaul reminded the process is lengthy because of the reconciliation that is necessary before the ballots, which also have to be scanned, are counted.

“We stand solidly for transparency and credibility,” he affirmed.