Mixed reaction about Day One of national recount of votes

Last Updated on Wednesday, 6 May 2020, 20:18 by Denis Chabrol

Executive Member of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Anil Nandlall says the 25 boxes of ballots that were recounted on Wednesday so far proves that his party’s Statements of Poll are accurate, but other pro-government players in the exercise say a number of discrepancies were found.

“By and large, the process has confirmed the accuracy of the PPP’s Statements of Poll and that is fundamental point I want to make that by-and-large 99 percent or so of what has been done today confirms and vindicates the accuracy of the PPP’s Statements of Poll,” he said.

GECOM spokeswoman, Yolanda Ward said seven boxes from Region One (Barima-Waini), six from Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), seven from Region Three (West Demerara-Essequibo Islands) and five from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) were recounted on Wednesday.

Elections Commissioner, Vincent Alexander said about 20 issues were identified during the course of the recount exercise. Among them is someone voting in the name of a dead person. Alexander said the bottom line would be whether the discrepancies would be sufficient to change the outcome of the elections. ‘At the end of that day, one would have to look at the magnitude of the occurrence and the way in which that magnitude can affect the result to make a determination,” he said.

A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) candidate, David Patterson said about 15 discrepancies were identified and parties were asked to record those in an incident/report book that is signed by representatives of the political parties.

He said they were mostly about migrants and dead persons on the voters’ list whose names were crossed off as having voted. “The majority of those numbers are linked to that,”  Patterson said.

Nandlall recommended that all queries and solutions be documented and used for the remainder of the projected 25-day recount exercise.

These have to with the validity of ballots cast based on the intent of the voters, and missing numbers from the six-digit stamps. Nandlall reiterated that the opening of certain envelopes amounted to a waste of time. The PPP official objected to two APNU+AFC activists allegedly disclosing the party that someone voted for.

Warde said the burning issue of the Poll Books for Region One which were not found among the boxes for that District would be transported by aircraft to Georgetown by Friday. She said GECOM was told that at least one of those books, which is a log book of activities, was not found and the commission would have to address that issue.

On the issue of the names of deceased persons  being on the voters’ list, she said GECOM has “no control over that” as there is a process by which such names have to be removed. Given the scrutiny by party agents at polling stations, she said voting in the names of dead persons should not happen and those instances would be left to the commission for “guidance.”

The GECOM spokeswoman said the seals on the ballot boxes were “intact” and so there was no evidence of tampering. She said the Guyana Police Force would be providing security for the shipping containers in which the ballots and other material are stored at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre. Party representatives, she added, would also be allowed to watch the containers.