Only valid votes must be counted- Aubrey Norton maintains

—expects GECOM to make decision based on the ‘law’

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Only valid votes must be counted says A Partnership for National Unity Executive Member and a counting agent for the Coalition (APNU+AFC), Aubrey Norton.

He was at the time commenting on the credibility of the March 2 General and Regional Elections on the radio show ‘Straight up’ with Mark Benschop.

APNU Executive Member and a counting agent for the Coalition (APNU+AFC), Aubrey Norton.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has completed the first phase of the recount of votes cast at the elections and commenced the second phase which involves the compilation of the report by the Chief Elections Officer.

However, Norton is maintaining that only valid votes must be counted based on the blatant acts of electoral fraud which took place.

He cited the over 40 boxes which were found without statutory documents, meaning there was no way to verify if those ballots were legally cast.

Aside from that, there were votes cast by persons who were out of the jurisdiction on election day, dead persons who cast votes, persons voting without identifications, mission polling books, unstamped ballots among other fraudulent acts were detected.

Norton highlighted that according to the law, the Chief Elections Officer will make a tabulation on the valid votes.

“If you are saying by law that the CEO must make a declaration of the valid votes, one obviously has to conclude that the votes that are in the 45 ballot boxes with no documentation cannot be valid because they are in total violation of the law.”

Norton, who played an integral role during the recount process, said that he expects that the CEO in his report will make known the clear pattern of electoral fraud.

“In this recount when you look at the APNU+AFC strongholds, all the documentation was there and you could have reconciled but it is interesting that in the PPP strongholds that there is this an absence of documentation. So, what has emerged is that a lot of the votes that PPP claimed to have had, are fraudulent.”

The recount, Norton reminded was a qualitative one, meaning the process was held to determine the credibility of the elections.

The Coalition counting agent is of the view that there can be no credible results when the majority of the votes are not credible, cannot be verified nor validated.

Norton pointed out that the Opposition is claiming that no action can be taken before the results are declared but highlighted it was the same Opposition that went to court on multiple occasions prior to the recount.

He also reminded that it was Anil Nandlall who initially said ‘one fraudulent act will nullify the entire process’ is now very quiet on the matter.

“In my opinion, GECOM is within the confines of the law especially when one looks at the clause which states it must be valid votes and the gazetted order which says clearly that there must be a reconciliation and that the whole process must be aimed at determining whether the elections were credible or not. To that extent, I believe GECOM will be compelled, by law, to deal with these votes that are not valid,” he opined.

“I believe nullification is the best route because you will never be able to quantify those qualitative things,” he added.

His Excellency President David Granger has called on the nation to await the completion of the four stages of the recount process.

Those are the actual recount of the votes cast, the compilation of the report by the CEO, a review of said report and a declaration by the Chairperson of GECOM after having studied the report.

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