After the way was made clear for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to conduct a recount of the ballots cast on March 2, the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, was asked to submit a workplan. The plan submitted by the CEO envisages that the recount would take some 156 days to complete.

Not satisfied with the duration, Opposition-nominated Commissioners, led by Sase Gunraj, requested time to review the document, and to make recommendations where necessary.

Today, the Commission met to discuss those recommendations put forward by the Commissioners, which took the form of a proposal, the Guyana Standard understands.

The proposal submitted by the opposition-appointed commissioners, were juxtaposed to that which was submitted by the CEO. According to Gunraj, their document entails a 10-day recount process, as opposed to the period that the CEO defined in his plan.

The Secretariat, yesterday, informed that there will be three stations with each slated to worked for 10 hours per day. Each station is estimated to count one ballot box every two hours. This translates to 15 boxes per day. There are 2,339 boxes to be processed.

Gunraj said his proposal entails an increase in the number of stations, and a reduction in processing time of each box.

“Our calculation in that timeframe, puts a possible recount of all the district at 10 days. And how did we arrive there? One, the CEO’s document contemplated use of three stations, and our proposal contemplates the use of 20 stations. The CEO’s document has a burden time of about two hours per box. We have reduced that number (duration) in half. And why we have done that? There are over 1,000 ballot boxes in which there are less than 200 ballots cast. In fact, there are 200 and something boxes that have less than 50 ballots cast in those boxes. As a consequence, the time for counting of those boxes, could not be as burdensome of two hours, all things considered,” he posited.

Gunraj admitted that the proposed timeline of 10 days was not agreed to, as this would depend on the examination of the counting stations and the facilities at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, where the recount is hinted to take place.

Meanwhile, government-nominated Commissioner, Vincent Alexander, said that the Commission agreed to the involvement of representatives of parties; the role of the CEO; and the role of the Commissioners.

He said that no final decision has been made on the number of stations, or the period required.

Alexander, too, said that the decision hinges on a number of factors.
“…The time to count the box is still a pertinent factor, the venue and how many we can do at any one time is still a pertinent factor, and that has to take into consideration the present situation – COVID-19,” he said.

The Commission will meet next week.


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