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Private Sector Commission endorses electronic voting, counting system

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) on Wednesday announced its endorsement of a proposed electronic ballot voting and counting system in local government and national elections.

“The use of such a system could enhance the accuracy of vote counts and speed up the delivery of election results,” said the PSC in a statement on the outcome of a meeting with Canadian High Commissioner, Nicole Giles.

While Guyana’s elections since 1992 have been internationally certified as free and fair, concerns have been raised by political parties and foreign observers that it takes several days before official results are declared.

The DELIAN Project, an independent non-profit organisation registered in Canada and the United States (US) plans to donate about 60 paper-based automatic ballot scan and tabulation machines to Guyana.

The PSC said it was heartened by the information presented and looks forward to the results of a preliminary assessment of the system by GECOM, should the proposed project find acceptance from key stakeholders.

“The Private Sector Commission is of the view that such systems could be of great value to Guyana where the current methods associated with the tabulation and the transmission of votes tend to impede the official declaration of results,” said the umbrella organisation.

The business organisation noted that each machine handles in excess of 1,000 votes per day.  These systems, while speeding up the tabulation process, also provide for paper ballots which could be manually tabulated in the event of the need for a recount.

Representatives of DELLIAN have already held talks with officials of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the political parties. GECOM has noted that the law would first have to be amended to facilitate the use of the electronic voting and tabulation machines.