The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is now in possession of all the Poll books for the Electoral Districts currently being counted, the commission’s spokeswoman, Yolanda Ward, said this afternoon.
The recount of the ballots cast in the March General and Regional Elections are currently underway at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) in the capital, Georgetown. Today marks four days since that process began. On the first day, concerns were raised when books could not be found for Electoral District One (Barima/Waini). It was later revealed that books for the other regions (Two, Three and Four) currently being counted were also missing.
GECOM Commissioner, Desmond Trotman said yesterday that some of the books were in haversacks with other electoral equipment. He surmised that the officers who presided over the elections were not aware of the protocols regarding the submission of those books, and therefore, did not do what was required of them, that is, to place the books into the ballot boxes. Each ballot box contains votes that were cast at particular polling station on elections day.
These books are very important, as they contain the notes of the Presiding Officer. It also contains, among other things, the number of persons who would have voted by proxy.
It could not be confirmed if GECOM is in possession of Poll books for the other regions that are yet to be counted, since the boxes are only opened when it is time for their contents to be tallied. The Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, has since been instructed by the Commission to issue calls to the districts that may still be in possession of poll books, to return them immediately to the commission.
But for the four regions being counted (Regions One, Two, Three and Four), all the poll books are in GECOM’s possession, and they have been incorporated into the counting process, Ward said.