APNU+AFC’s counting agent Aubrey Norton has been making note of the number of dead persons who have turned up to vote in the elections, and in the face of violent objections from the PPP, has moved to obtain death certificates to prove that those votes were fraudulent.
The PPP’s General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo has threatened that anyone who does so such will face the brunt of the law.
However, Norton notes that the law has made provision for this, pointing to Chapter 40:1 of the Constitution which entitles anyone to search the records and procure a death certificate.
Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chair Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh has advised that evidence of these incidences, along with cases of “out of jurisdiction” voting, can inform the commission’s deliberation on the recount.
Norton questions: after having counted some 797 ballot boxes, how there can there be 284 poll books missing? That clearly shows 90,707 votes covered in those 284 poll books are now in question! he lamented.
The Coalition counting agent notes that the PPP is suggesting that the poll books are not important. However, the rules governing elections have made it clear that a Presiding Officer must place in the poll book, the number of the seal placed on a box. Another section states that the Presiding Officer causes an entry to be made in the poll book and attaches the Certificate of Employment.
“If you cannot determine the Certificate of Employment, you cannot determine those with Identity of Oath since there are no records and most importantly, it stipulates that at the end of the process, a seal be placed on the ballot box. When the seal is placed, the number must be written in the poll book. The guarantee that the seal is the correct seal is that entry into the poll book,” Norton told members of the media.
He outlined that for the May 26 count, 17 persons were out of the jurisdiction who voted in Region Three. Another 18 persons voted using Oaths of Identity, but only one is recorded in the poll book. In addition, nine voted with Oaths of Identity in Rose Hall, Region Six, while six were out of the jurisdiction. In Region Nine, 11 voted without Oaths of Identity, while the 30 who voted by proxies were not recorded in the poll book.
“What this means is that 30 persons could have been allowed to vote without being entitled to vote,” Norton informed.
He emphasised that there must be some semblance of integrity of the March 2, General and Regional elections coming out of the national recount.
“This is not a question of win or lose. This is a question of placing our elections on a path of credibility. If we do not deal with the credibility of the process, we will be here again in 2025. What is necessary at this stage is to have the audit and allow GECOM to make its decision and then take actions in the future to ensure it doesn’t repeat itself,” Norton concluded.
GECOM is yet to decide what will be done with this and other evidence to be submitted by the Coalition that people voted in the names of dead people and others who were out of Guyana on polling day.
GECOM has so far tabulated 1,337 of the 2,339 boxes of ballots that contain about 480,000 votes. Regions 1 (Barima-Waini), 2 (Pomeroon-Supenaam), and 5 (Mahaica-West Berbice) have been recounted. The recount of Region 7 (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) may be finished on Friday as there only six of 76 boxes left to be recounted.
In terms of the troubled ‘Demerara-Mahaica’ Region Four, Guyana’s most densely populated electoral district, 555 of the 879 boxes of ballots are yet to be re-counted.
The Elections Commission is to determine whether to extend the 25-day recount deadline that expires on May 31 and a declaration of the results of the elections by June 16.
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