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Time to ban voting without ID cards, passports- PPPC

The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) on Thursday vowed to push for voting without cards and passports to be outlawed, amid concerns that hundreds of security forces personnel voted without national identification cards.

PPP General Secretary, Clement Rohee told a news conference that the party was found it increasingly intolerable that the folio, which contains pictures and identification data, was being abused.

“You can’t walk in any polling station without any identification because that’s subject to abuse. Some people will be allowed to vote, others will not be allowed to vote,” he said. The PPP wants the folio to be used only to match the bio-data on the passports or national identification cards.

By the PPPC’s calculations, he said 54.9 percent or 3,147 of 6,978 eligible voters cast ballots on March 18, 2016.  Rohee said 513 of them voted without identification cards.

Rohee argued that persons perceived as PPP supporters would be sent home and told to bring their identification cards while perceived APNU supporters would be allowed to vote without identification cards. “We don’t want that. We have experiences where that has happened. People have been turned away because they don’t have an ID card knowing that they would vote without an IUD card, that they only have to take an Oath,” he said.

The PPPC General Secretary stressed that his party wanted ID cards or passports because the machinery was already unfair and inherently biased.  Rohee acknowledged that his party, while in government from 1992 to 2015, did not push for only passports and identification cards to be used. “No we didn’t push…We pushing for it now that we are in the opposition…We are taking what is called a dialectical approach to these matters…What is applicable in one situation may not be applicable in another situation,” he said.

For example, the PPPC noted that during voting by the Disciplined Services at the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard there was no folio provided and 28 out of 118 persons voted without identification cards, and a further 13 persons were not permitted to vote.

Meanwhile, the PPPC plans to lodge complaints with GECOM about alleged voter molestation and intimidation by senior military and police personnel during balloting on March 18, 2016. “It was noted that senior military and police officials had arrogated unto to themselves the role of turning out the vote  at practically all the Disciplined Services locations used for voting. It was noted that officers and NCOs (non-commissioned officers) were in possession of lists of the electors and had the task of actively  and loudly urging the electors to join the lines to vote,” he said.