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US advocates speedier system to deliver election results

US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway.

Newly-accredited United States (US) Ambassador, Perry Holloway on Friday revived the idea of electronic counting of votes to speed up the delivery of results of Local Government Elections.

“I wish to pledge my government’s continued support to the holding of local government elections before the end of 2015 — hopefully with the use of electronic tabulation so that we can all have a few less sleepless nights as we await the results,” he said in brief remarks during the presentation of his credentials to President David Granger.

Canada in January, 2014 facilitated a fact-finding mission by the DELIAN project that promotes the use of electronoic vote tabulation, but the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has already said the relevant laws would first have to be amended.

In laying down a series of demands for its participation in the Local Government Elections, the main opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) has gone a step further by pushing for e-voting and enhanced biometrics.

While since 1992, Guyana’s elections have been widely regarded as free and fair, political parties  and civil society organisations agree that official results should not take more than one day or 36 hours to be announced. The counter arguments include the remote locations at which some polling stations are located and the archaic system that requires that the manual results be delivered eventually to GECOM’s headquarters before the official results are known.

The President late last month during the swearing in of two People’s Progressive Party Civic-nominated Election Commissioners, had also remarked about the need to speed up the delivery of election results in the future.

Well-placed sources at GECOM have said that the elections management authority could be ready to hold long-awaited Local Government Elections (LGE) any time after mid-February.

Legally, GECOM is given a maximum of 15 days to deliver official results and declare a winner.