In several instances during the recount of the ballots cast in the March General and Regional Elections, Poll Books could not be found in ballot boxes. This issue was first reported on Wednesday when the process began at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown.
At first, it was believed that only books for Region One could not be located in some of the boxes, however, it has now been revealed that these documents could not be found in boxes that contain votes from other electoral districts including Regions Two, Three and Four.
Since the boxes are being open sequentially (from Region One to Four) it is unknown if Poll Books are also missing from boxes containing votes for other regions (Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten). Therefore, the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) has issued a call to the districts for persons, presumably those officers who supervised the casting of the ballots back in March and may be in possession of those books, to have them returned to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
When Government-nominated Commissioner, Desmond Trotman, was asked if the books were returned for Region One, he said: “Well, so far, it is not only Region One those incidents occurred; in all of the regions that we’ve looked at so far…The Presiding Officers didn’t seem to understand training they were given and how it is that they should act. And so that instead of placing the poll books in the ballot boxes, as they should have, what they did was to put the poll books – as far as I understand – in another container; meaning a haversack,” Commissioner Trotman said.
The Commissioner clarified that the poll books were still placed in the container but not in the ballot boxes. Lowenfield has issued instructions to all of the districts that if they continue to hold those bags, they must be returned as quickly as possible.
Trotman reminded that the Poll Books are integral to the process.
According to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM)’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Yolanda Ward: “the Poll Book contains the notes of the Presiding Officer as to what would have transpired during the electoral process on elections days. For example, if persons voted with Certificates of Employment; the number of persons who voted with Certificates of Employment; persons who voted by proxy…The poll book gives that details, and all the issues that may have been addressed at the respective poll stations; any hiccups and so that they may have had. [So], that poll book is essentially like the Logbook of the day’s activities.”