The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the 2020 General and Regional Elections heard on Thursday that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) had put a shift system in place for polling agents to avoid burn out during the tabulation of votes. This new information now puts into question why certain GECOM staffers complained about exhaustion the night of March 5 2020 when the District Four votes were being counted.
The news of the shift system was revealed by GECOM’s Information Technology Manager Aneal Giddings. He told the commission that the IT Department of GECOM was in charge of overseeing the tabulation process of the District Four. He claimed that a total of 41 persons were assigned to work in the department at the Command Center.
He noted that prior to the establishment of the Command Center, GECOM had structured a plan of action that would have eliminated delays to the process. “We were required to work until the end, continuously, without stopping,” Giddings stated.
The IT Manager noted, “I was in charge of what is known as the tabuation center, which should be contrasted to be a different process than that of Returning Officer. So the tabulation center was responsible for tabulating the Chief Elections Officer’s copies of the Statement of Polls with the objective of complying with the requirements for him to submit a digital or electronic report.”
Meanwhile, Giggings was asked about how Statement of Polls were verified before the tabulation process. Within the last several days of the inquiry, the validity of SOPs has been a main question. Giddings provided a detailed analysis of how SOPs are tested for authenticity.
He expounded that it is the Commissioners of GECOM who verify and certify that the SOPs are authentic. “They look for a specific security feature which is known to them. The Commissioners would initial, usually at the bottom right hand corner, of the statement which serves to show that they were certified.
He added that after the SOPs are certified, it is then moved to the tabulation center. He said too that staff would also receive and fill out a log book where someone would sign as delivering and another would sign as receiving.