Cellphones now permitted at recount for photographic purposes, no streaming permitted – GECOM

–Several other measures implemented

–32 boxes completed at noon on day five

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, May 10, 2020

Limited cell phone use is now being allowed during the recount process of the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections continues.

This was disclosed by Public Relations Officer (PRO) of GECOM, Yolanda Ward during a media briefing at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), Liliendaal.

This issue of the use of cell phones was deliberated today by the Commission after it was raised by several parties. However, the PRO emphasised that while cellphones can be used, streaming is prohibited during the counting exercise.

Ward_day 5

Public Relations Officer (PRO) of GECOM, Yolanda Ward

“The use of cellphones particularly as it relates to the counting exercise will not be allowed for any streaming purposes, but only to take photographs of the ballot box when it arrives at the work station. This is to satisfy persons who would want to ensure that the seals are intact and for their records,” Ward explained.

The PRO also said cell phones can be used to take a photograph of the completed Statement Of Recount (SOR) when that is produced at the end of the count.

The commissioners also deliberated on the time when the last ballot box can be retrieved from the container that will see the process ending at 7pm as is gazetted in the order.

Ward disclosed that the 5pm cut off time remains with a slight adjustment.

“While we will stick to the 5 o’clock mark, and we want to maintain the sequence of the count of the boxes; then we will have to ensure that we select a box that may have a small number of ballots to ensure we finish at that 7pm timeline,” she explained.

It was also highlighted that the commission also discussed the language used in observation reports.

Ward noted that it was felt by some party agents that the language used in the reports portrayed incidents as factual without actual evidence.

“One of the things that will have to filter down to the workstations, particularly to the staff that will be preparing that report is to be careful in terms of the language used on the report particularly if there is no evidence to substantiate the claim. So, they will have to ensure that they use words such as allegation or it was alleged.”

It was also disclosed that three agents from each political party will be allowed to witness the tabulation process.

At noon today, 32 boxes were completed during the recount process. This includes 7 boxes for Region One; 6 for Region Two; 10 for Region Three and 9 for Region Four.

At the close of count yesterday [May 9] there were 156 ballot boxes completed.