‘Only valid votes’ | APNU+AFC maintains GECOM can only calculate to arrive at credible results - EntornoInteligente
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APNU+AFC Election Agent, Joseph Harmon — points to Representation of the Peoples Act By Lisa Hamilton

The APNU+AFC coalition has put forward that in the handing over of the Chief Elections Officer’s (CEOs) report today, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) must declare only valid votes as doing otherwise would be in contrast to the law.

Section 96 of the Representation of the Peoples Act states: “The Chief Election Officer shall calculate the total number of valid votes of electors which have been cast for each list of candidates and thereupon shall ascertain the result of the election in accordance with sections 97 and 98. 97.”

This was the reminder of APNU+AFC Election Agent, Joseph Harmon in a public statement on Wednesday, ahead of the CEO’s report expected to be handed over by 13:00 hours today. There has been much debate both nationally and amongst Commissioners about how the Election’s body should legally treat with the elections which political parties and local and international elections observers have acknowledged was impacted by some amount of irregularities and anomalies.

Elections Observer Missions (EOMs) have noted such instances of irregularities but, like the main Opposition party, do not believe that these are of magnitude to impact the outcome of the elections which has put the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in the lead.

The Guyana Elections Commission Meanwhile, the APNU+AFC, responsible for bringing to the Commission’s attention the majority of the cases, has argued that the cases of irregularities, anomalies and voter impersonation are not only of sufficient magnitude but place the credibility of the elections at risk and must be corrected by the Commission responsible for credible elections.

When the CEO submitted his report on June 13, he noted that, undoubtedly, cases of irregularities, anomalies and voter impersonation were present in the elections. He outlined 4,864 cases of voter impersonation and more than 2,000 anomalies which were verified by the Commission.

The CEO also stated that the presence of these cases hinders him from determining that the elections were credible. He concluded that the election: “… clearly does not appear to satisfy the criteria of impartiality, fairness, and compliance with provisions of the Constitution and the ROPA Cap 1:03.” In presenting his party’s case on Wednesday, Harmon reminded that GECOM has been presented with irrefutable proof of the existence of fraud during the elections which cannot be discredited.

“We provided all this information to GECOM asking for them to investigate and pronounce on these issues which were a part of the Electoral body’s own records. GECOM investigated and were provided with independent proof of our claims by the Commissioner of Police. We have written more than 25 letters to the Elections Commission on these matters and these matters are confirmed in the Chief Elections Officer’s report to the Guyana Elections Commission concerning our contention of fraud,” Harmon said.

He therefore reminded the public that the GECOM Chair, on Tuesday, had directed that the CEO submit his report, which highlighted these cases of fraud, for the declaration of the elections. The Chair had stated: “Pursuant to Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution and Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act Chapter 1:03, you are hereby requested to prepare and submit your report by 13:00hrs on 18th June, 2020 using the results of the recount for consideration by the Commission.”

Harmon said that, in such a case, the CEO must be guided by Section 96 of the Representation of the Peoples Act which directs that the CEO shall calculate the number of valid votes cast by electors in a given election. He said that it is GECOM’s responsibility to declare only valid votes in an election compromised by fraud.

Harmon asserted: “We are saying that the Chief Elections Officer, given his own report to the commission and the subsequent request of the Chairman, must use only the votes that had all supporting statutory documents in the ballot boxes when they were recounted. These, by law, are the only valid votes in a clearly tainted process. Impure and illegal votes cannot be used to arrive and valid votes and legal results.”

He said that his party awaits the declaration of GECOM and remains optimistic about a favorable outcome which fairly, credibly and legally represents the will of the people. On Wednesday evening, President David Granger also met with senior officials of the APNU+AFC coalition at State House for a little over an hour. The officials offered no comment to the media upon their exit. Even so, as Guyana’s elections nears a conclusion, the APNU+AFC has all citizens of Guyana to maintain restraint as they await the declaration of the Elections Commission.

LINK ORIGINAL: Guyana Chronicle

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