Guyana: Vote recount remains stalled as GECOM haggles over details

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Guyana: Vote recount remains stalled as GECOM haggles over details
Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission Justice (rt'd) Claudette Singh (center) interacts with GECOM Commissioners at the Arthur Chung Conference Center, the proposed site for the recount. [Photo: Bibi Khatoon/News Room]

Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission Justice (rt’d) Claudette Singh (center) interacts with GECOM Commissioners at the Arthur Chung Conference Center, the proposed site for the recount. [Photo: Bibi Khatoon/News Room]
(NEWS ROOM GUYANA) – A definitive end to the elections process and a declaration of a winner of the March 02 polls was Wednesday afternoon no more certain than before, with Commissioners of the country’s elections body – split evenly along party lines – continuing the back and forth over details of a national recount.

The Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield had initially proposed counting at three workstations, taking two hours to count each of the 2,339 ballot boxes.

With an uproar over that timeline and further directions, Lowenfield has now proposed that the counting take place at five workstations. But he hasn’t put in how many days that will take.

Sase Gunraj, a nominated Commissioner from the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), has proposed counting takes place at 20 workstations. Vincent Alexander, an APNU+AFC nominated Commissioner, has proposed eight workstations.

Gunraj said he doesn’t see how the new proposal from Lowenfield would reduce his original timeline in any significant way.
Alexander described the discussion of the number of workstations as being “complex.”

When will the recount start? There is no answer to that yet.

And what form and shape will the recount take? APNU+AFC Commissioners are insisting it must be more than counting the votes cast. They want most of the entire elections day process to be repeated.

That would entail checking the list of electors for every polling station to see how many names were marked off as having cast their ballots. So for example, if 10 names were marked off, are only 10 ballot papers in the box? Were any ballots destroyed? Were there any spoilt ballots? Were the spoiled ballots really spoiled ballots?

And then, what if irregularities are discovered? What happens next? That too remains a question.

According to Alexander, the intention is to have the votes from the 10 electoral districts counted simultaneously and then a cumulative result determined.

The Chief Elections Officer is the one who will have to prepare the final report and present it to the Chairman and the six Commissioners.

The Commission meets again on Thursday. It is anyone’s guess if a final agreement on the recount would be made.

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