The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Tuesday decided that some people, who registered last year, could be among the 20,000 who could be removed from the voters’ list if they do not uplift their national identification (ID) cards.
Elections Commissioner, Vincent Alexander said the list would date back to 2008 and extend to last year when a cycle of registration was conducted. He said from this weekend those persons would be notified.
“A major decision, which was made or reaffirmed was that we would be publishing the over twenty-thousand names of the persons who have not uplifted their ID cards. Those will be published and each individual will be written to,” he said.
Opposition People’ss Progressive Party (PPP)-aligned Elections Commissioner, Sase Gunraj hinted that legal action would be taken to stop the implementation of the decision on the grounds that it would be unconstitutional to disenfranchise anyone and to remove anyone’s names from the list unless their deaths have been certified or insanity confirmed.
Mr. Gunraj also highlighted that GECOM was preparing to remove the names of persons up to 2019 who have not uplifted their national ID cards. “What is now made very clear is that persons who might have registered as late as last year or in the last Claims and Objections period before this current one and did not collect their ID cards also stand at risk of being removed from the list for no-collection of that ID card which, f0r me, continues to be disenfranchising because persons will definitely be disenfranchised by this move,” said Mr. Gunraj.
The governing coalition is concerned that the existing voters’ list of about 700,000 names is bloated with the names of deceased persons and migrants. However, the PPP has stressed that Guyanese do not need any form of identification to vote in general and regional elections, once their names are on the voters’ list.
Last week, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, while speaking at a fundraising event in Toronto, Canada, urged attendees to return home and vote once they were registered.