An Assistant Registrar at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) took the stand on Wednesday before the Commission of Inquiry into the March 2020 General and Regional Elections. The woman testified that she was given strict instructions to violate existing Standard Operating Procedures that governed the tabulation of District Four votes.
Alexandra Bowman told the commission that on the night of March 4, 2020, she was made aware of a change in the verification process, which she said prompted some amount of uncertainty, especially since the tabulation process has always been done using Statements of Poll.
She noted that soon after, she was given instructions by Michelle Miller, the Clerk of Former District Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, to proceed with the process using spreadsheets. The witness, for clarity, told the Commission that Miller acted in the place of Mingo who was not present since he had fallen ill during the day.
“When the instructions were given I followed them. I did recommend that we use a projector on the wall so that we can have transparency and that the parties can follow. We then obtained two different projectors but neither of them was showing brightly enough… They weren’t working properly,” The witness said.
Bowman said because of the technical hurdle, she proceeded to use the spreadsheet as directed by the Returning Officer’s Clerk (Miller). She said the spreadsheet was downloaded onto her personal flash drive by Enrique Livan, and handed to her to use on a laptop that was provided.
Bowman said that while the numbers on the spreadsheet were being called, there were objections coming from party agents with regard to the records reflected on the spreadsheet.
When asked about whether there were in fact disparities with the numbers on the spreadsheet, compared to those in possession of party agents, she posited that she was not certain. “I was not able to compare them,” Bowman told the Commission.
She recounted that despite the objections from party agents, neither Miller nor Livan attempted to check the alleged variations in the figures on the spreadsheet. Instead, she was instructed by Miller to continue verifying the numbers.
“After the uproar in the tabulation room, I told them that I’m not feeling well because somebody pushed the table and hit my belly. I was pregnant at the time,” She recounted.
She relayed however that there was intervention from the Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Roxanne Myers, and the GECOM Chair, Ret’d Justice Claudette Singh. Bowman said she was given permission to leave and proceeded on maternity leave thereafter.