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Granger wants “bogus votes” removed

Presidential candidate for A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) , David Granger on Friday night announced that his coalition wants the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to subtract fake votes such as those allegedly cast in the names of overseas people.

“We are also committed to ensuring that every legitimate vote is counted but at the same time, we’re committed to removing the illegitimate votes. We are committed to ensuring that bogus votes, that people who were not in the jurisdiction, people who have no form of identification will not be allowed to vote,” President Granger told Benschop Radio.

This is the clearest position yet from the incumbent coalition after weeks of deflecting questions on what it wanted the GECOM to do in light of claims that the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections were not credible because they were riddled with fraud and other irregularities.

The coalition has said GECOM’s observation reports show that there were 7,929 instances of irregularities “which directly affect the validity of 257,173 votes.

APNU+AFC and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) each has three representatives on the seven-member Elections Commission which means that the decision essentially rests with the Chairman, Retired Justice Claudette Singh.

Granger lamented that the “bloated” voters list of more than 690,000 names had been used by “certain corrupt elements to corrupt the election process.” He said the recount process has uncovered the corruption.

Executive member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton first hinted at the route the coalition would take in the commission when he told Prime Time Caribbean that GECOM should remove irregularities before making a declaration failing which the polls should be declared null and void because they would not be deemed credible.

Earlier Friday, PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo said the Elections Commission could not function as a court of law to hear complaints by political parties or declare the elections null and void.

The PPP continues to maintain that it has won the elections based on the recount and any questions about the results must be addressed in an elections petition to the High Court in accordance with Guyana’s Constitution and the Representation of the People Act.

The Representation of the People Act states that a vote is invalid if it is unstamped, any writing or mark by which the voter can be identified,  not marked for any list of candidates or is void of any uncertainty, and votes given for more than one list of candidates.

Pro-coalitionists say GECOM, in keeping with the gazetted recount order, is relying on Article 162(b) which states that it shall issue such instructions and take such action as appear to it necessary or expedient to ensure impartiality, fairness and compliance with the provisions of the Constitution or any Act of Parliament.