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“Bloated” final voters list ready -elections commissioner

As the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) prepares to certify the final voters list, also called the Official List of Electors (OLE), containing 661,028 persons, at least one pro-coalition elections commissioner on Tuesday reiterated that the roll is bloated.

“So, clearly we are going forward with a bloated list because there is no circumstance under which a population of 750,000 plus with a school population of approximately 200,000 can produce a voters list of 661,000,” Vincent Alexander told reporters.

The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has always maintained that with sufficient security, vigilance by GECOM and political party representatives, there could be no room for voter irregularities as had been claimed by the governing coalition.

Mr Alexander said at the start of the preparations for the general elections, the national register had contained 663,365 names, and the preliminary list of electors contained 646,625 names. The names of 6,094 persons, who died, were removed based on information from the General Registrar’s Office, there were 68 objections, 16,642 names added from the house-to-house registration exercise, 4,258 claims and objections, and 368 duplicate names removed.

Now, the national register of registrants has 678,105 names and the revised list of electors 661,378.

Mr Alexander and other fellow pro-coalition election commissioners, Charles Corbin and Desmond Trotman, had been at the forefront in calling for the creation of a fresh national register of registrants through house-to-house registration. While a house-to-house registration exercise had been held in July and August, 2019, the High Court had ruled that the existing national register of registrants could not be altered or scrapped.

The commissioners had also wanted to use relevant laws to remove the names of thousands of persons who it is believed have migrated and so are no longer residing in Guyana. But, the Court had also ruled that since no names could be removed from the existing register, eligible voters must be placed on the voters list and if they wished they could return and vote in the districts in which they had been registered.

The Guyana Court of Appeal is yet to set a date to give its decision in an appeal brought by the Attorney General Basil Williams that residency must be a requirement for being included in the national register and the voters’ list.

At the same time, the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) of which Williams is a candidate for the March 2 general elections, has been encouraging overseas-based Guyanese to return home to vote. The PPP has also been encouraging its supporters overseas to come back home and vote.