‘Count only valid votes’

Entornointeligente.com /

Scenes from Wednesday’s protest …coalition Linden supporters open protest over elections results …demand that GECOM declare only valid votes By Naomi Marshall SUPPORTERS of the ‘A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change’ (APNU+AFC) coalition protested in front of the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM’s) Mackenzie office, on Wednesday, demanding that only credible votes of the March 2 elections be declared.

The protest which was led by former Member of Parliament, Jermaine Figueira, heard chants like «FRAUD IS FRAUD;» «COUNT ONLY VALID VOTES,» and «REGION 10 WILL NOT ACCEPT FRAUDULENT RESULTS,» being shouted by the peaceful protesters.

In a brief statement, Figueira stated that Guyana’s democracy along with the will of Guyanese people was at stake, and, as such, GECOM has a constitutional responsibility to ensure that the electoral process provides credible results and moreover to ensure that only valid votes cast at Guyana’s March 2 Regional and General Elections are tabulated for any declaration which is to be made.

Young supporter of the APNU+AFC Coalition, Devin Sears, (Right) during the protest Figueira said, «we are saying to GECOM who is responsible for manning the affairs of this elections, to ensure that democracy in Guyana is preserved, to ensure that the will of Guyanese is not trampled upon and to ensure that only valid votes are recorded so that democracy will reign, so that the true will of the people will be expressed in the validity of the votes cast.»

The former MP highlighted that during the recount it was observed that 49 of the ballot boxes were without GECOM’s statutory documents that would gave validity to the ballots in the boxes. He also pointed out that evidence was provided to confirm that thousands of impersonations of dead persons and persons that were not in the country on Election Day were done. «GECOM cannot tabulate all of the ballots cast to make a determination when bona fide evidence suggest that fraud would have taken place and in order to correct that…only the valid votes are a true representation of the will of the people and the will of the people must not be on what is considered reasonably credible,» he added.

Figueira called on Guyana’s Chief Election Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, to «follow the Law and honour his statutory and constitutional obligation by only using the valid votes cast in the Guyana’s 2020 Election to determine the final result.

Twenty one-year-old protester, Kady Sears, (left) along with other APNU+AFC protesters on Wednesday A young supporter of the APNU+AFC coalition, Devin Sears, expressed to this newspaper that he, along with the other supporters, will only respect a declaration where only the valid votes cast are used to determine the results. Sears said, «we respect GECOM’s process and everything, we have been very patient but the fact is that at this stage we only want the valid votes counted.»

Meanwhile, Representative of the APNU+AFC coalition, Douglas Gittens told Guyana Chronicle that Guyanese have a right to free and fair elections with credible results, and, as such, Linden people are only prepared to accept fair results, adding that the protests will continue until credible results are declared.

«Mr. Lowenfield has to clearly state to all Guyanese that he has used credible numbers to come up with a final figure. Until he does that we are not accepting those results and we are prepared to come out on the streets to ensure that those rights to fair results are fulfilled,» said Gittens.

Twenty-one-year-old protester, Kady Sears noted that many young Guyanese including herself made a decision to exercise their democratic right by going out and vote on March 2, and, as such, GECOM owes them nothing less than the declaration of credible results. The young woman noted that young people want their voices to be heard and their voices are at stake «if any fraud is allowed to be swept under the carpet.»

On June 13, 2020, Lowenfield submitted his report on the National Recount to the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, and the six Elections Commissioners.

Scenes from Wednesday’s protest The Report which comprised of a tabulation of the votes recounted during a period of 34 days (May 6-June 8), and a Summary of Observation Reports for each of the 10 Electoral Districts, pointed to 4,864 cases of voter impersonation and more than 2,000 anomalies that have impacted well over 200,000 votes across the 10 Electoral Districts.

In each of the Observation Reports, Lowenfield established that due to the anomalies and instances of voter impersonation, the General and Regional Elections held on March 2 did not satisfy the criteria of impartiality, fairness and compliance with the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act.

However, on June 16, 2020, Lowenfield, was ordered by Justice Singh to prepare a report in keeping with Section 96 of the Representation of the Act, Chapter 1:03, a move that effectively paves the way for the official declaration of the Election results, and in keeping with the Order that had triggered the National Recount of the ballots cast at the elections held on March 2.

This judgement was made following submissions made by the Government and Opposition-nominated Elections Commissioners on whether GECOM should nullify the elections due to the anomalies and cases of electoral fraud or use the data contained in the CEO’s National Recount Report to declare the results of the General and Regional Elections held last March.

LINK ORIGINAL: Guyana Chronicle