Members of the governing APNU+AFC coalition have been calling on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to investigate allegations of dead people and migrants voting in the March 02, 2020 General and Regional elections.
But according to Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran, GECOM does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the allegations as they are issues for an election petition pursuant to Article 163 of the Constitution and Section 3 of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act.
In his most recent writings, Ramkarran pointed out that both a count and recount of the ballots under the Representation of the People Act and the gazetted Order for the recount do not provide for such objections, which in his view, cannot be taken seriously.
As a matter of fact, Ramkarran asserted that GECOM should not have been entertaining such objections in the first place and ought to have advised the objectors to save their objections for an election petition after the results of the election have been declared.
Ramkarran said that the objections are not allowed as the gazetted Order for the recount creates GECOM’s mandate to include: the reconciliation of the ballots issued with the ballots cast, destroyed, spoiled, stamped, and as deemed necessary, their counterfoils/stubs; authenticity of the ballots and the number of voters listed and crossed out as having voted; the number of votes cast without ID cards; the number of proxies issued and the number utilized; statistical anomalies and the occurrences recorded in the Poll Book.
According to the Senior Counsel, who is the Presidential Candidate for A New and United Guyana (ANUG), authenticity of the ballots relates to the ballots itself, that is, the ballot papers, not to the votes.
With the foregoing in mind, he clarified that this mandate does not accommodate objections of dead people and migrants voting that are being made by the APNU+AFC.
According to him, there appears to be no reason for the endless objections at the recount by APNU+AFC unless it is to build a case to argue that the results of the recount should not be accepted and that the results of the elections should be declared based on the existing declarations, which includes figures from Region 4’s Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo.
But whether it would in the absence of technical errors and in relation to matters that belong in an election petition after the results have been declared, Ramkarran said this is unknown.