GECOM CEO puts forward draft national recount plan

−proposes 156 days for recount

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield has presented a draft national recount plan as the body met today to continue planning for the recount of votes cast in the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections

That plan as suggested by the CEO could see the recount process being carried out for 156 days.

Commissioner Vincent Alexander said that the plan is still under discussion and is therefore not final.

Opposition Commissioner Sase Gunraj today requested time from the commission to study and possibly make other proposals. The commission will resume on Thursday.

“It is under discussion. Commissioner Gunraj has asked for time to rework the plan. In that context, I think in a matter of principle we should not be outside discussing that. We should allow the system to work. The plan he put forward is a draft for discussion,” Alexander told members of the media

However, responding to media queries about the CEO’s proposal, Alexander said “he did not take 156 out of the air. He must have had some basis. In the first instance, he determined how long it takes to count a box. He had put two hours per box.”

An official release from GECOM later stated that it has taken note of the public ridicule by some Commissioners on the draft work plan for the conduct of the national recount presented for discussion, amendments and consideration.

It said though cognisant that the 156 days proposed for the activity may be quite a lengthy duration, the Secretariat had to consider matters of law in relation to the procedures to conduct a recount; approved decisions of the commission and the current COVID-19 pandemic affecting the health situation of the population.

“In this regard, the Secretariat considered the request by the Commission for each ballot to be projected on a screen, the examination of the contents of the ballot box i.e. ascertaining the number of electors on the list, the number of electors who voted, counting votes cast for both General and Regional Election and validation of spoilt, questioned and rejected ballots.

It is against this backdrop, GECOM said that the estimated time for one ballot box to be counted was projected to be two hours; utilising three workstations for 10 hours per day (9:00hrs -19:00hrs) at a central location to count 2,339 boxes.

“The Secretariat finds the comments by the Commissioners absurd, distasteful and unethical particularly since they are aware that the proposal considered the decisions of the Commission and its content is still being discussed for finalization,” the release stated.

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