Automatic Voter Machines (AVMs) are to be used here for the first time at the University of Guyana’s Students’ Society (UGSS) elections as a pilot project to ascertain whether they could be used in a general or local government election.
“Of particular interest to the University of Guyana and by extension the country in general, is the secured transmission of results from remote poll stations to a pre-determined central command center utilising pre-existing GSM network systems,” said the University of Guyana in a statement. “This latter aspect will be robustly tested during the UGSS elections given the spatial distribution of the polling stations.”
The University of Guyana says it has invited the Guyana Elections Commission to observe the voting process at the Turkeyen and Tain Campuses.
The annual elections for the posts of President and Faculty Representatives for the University of Guyana Students’ Society are scheduled for October 1, 3 and 4, 2014.
Guyana’s general elections have been repeatedly dogged by the slow delivery of results. Representatives of the DELIAN Project have already pitched the idea of the use of the AVMs to GECOM.
The government of Canada and the Canadian non-governmental organisation, DELIAN Project, are funding the use of the automated technology at the UGSS’ elections. “A new feature added to the voting process this year, is the use of automated voter machines (AVMs) -as a pilot/case study – to allow for the casting, tabulation and generation of the statement of polls. The use of electoral technology is expected to improve the integrity of the vote count, allowing students to have more confidence in its legitimacy,” added UG.
The DELIAN team will be in Guyana from September 29, 2014. They are expected to give a demonstration of the AVMs on the same day at 3:30 PM in the Education Lecture Theatre, Turkeyen Campus.
The four student groups contesting the elections this year are: the Students’ Empowerment Alliance, with presidential candidate hopeful Mr Joshua Griffith ( the out-going Senior Vice-President, UGSS); the Students Movement Advocating Real Transformation, with presidential candidate hopeful Mr Andre Chowbay (out-going Assistant Secretary, UGSS), new comers the Students United Movement, with presidential candidate hopeful Mr Denroy Tudor and the veteran Revolutionaries, with presidential candidate hopeful Mr Glendfield Dennison.
Students of the Turkeyen campus are expected to vote on Wednesday, October 1, from 12 noon. The students of the Berbice campus (Tain and John’s annex) will cast their votes on Friday, October 3, 2014. While on Saturday, October 4, the graduate students will cast their votes at the Turkeyen campus.
DELIAN reported that the key benefits of using an AVM-based system include transparency, accessibility, speed in the tabulation of votes and a reduction in administrative costs. The DELIAN Project has piloted the use of the AVMs in a number of emerging democracies with much success and more recently the electoral technology was used at the University of West Indies (Mona Campus) for student elections.