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The A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APUN+AFC) is growing increasingly concerned with the work coming out from the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to ensure a credible voters list that could lead to credible elections and credible results. Their most recent concern is the Preliminary Voters List, which they say has denied electors information on their assigned constituents.
There continue to be protest actions urging GECOM to produce a clean voters list, a call that has support locally and from international observers to the 2020 General and Regional Election.
According to the Opposition, “the 2022 Preliminary List of Electors is manifestly unfit for this purpose. It is not only bloated, but it also violates the constitutional rights of electors. It undermines the integrity of the election. It is a recipe for disaster. GECOM must get its act together.” The coalition said to this end they will be requesting an urgent meeting with GECOM to raise these fundamental concerns
Read the APNU+AFC full statement below:
In August 2022, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) published the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) for the next Local Government Elections (LGE). The Certificates of Commissioner, signed by Commissioner of Registration Vishnu Persaud, state that the list of persons on the list are those qualified as electors “for election to the National Assembly and Regional Democratic Councils.”
Not surprisingly, therefore, the list does not assign electors to their local constituencies for LGE. The PLE assigns electors only to divisions, with no information on constituencies. In LGEs, residency is vital to several aspects of the process. With regards to ELIGIBILITY OF VOTERS, the law requires electors to be registered and living in the constituency in which they are desirous of voting to be able to vote under both the PR and the constituency components of the election. In this regard one arrives at the conclusion that the Elections Commission is either incompetent or is preparing for General and Regional Elections rather than Local Government Elections. GECOM needs to state which elections they are preparing for and if it is Local Government they need to rectify the problem in keeping with the law.
As regards CANDIDATES AND NOMINATORS, the law, for example, stipulates that a candidate seeking election under the First-Past-the-Post or constituency component of the Local Government Elections must be registered and living in the constituency in which he/she is seeking to be elected as a Councillor. Furthermore, the law requires lists of candidates to be supported by not less than 100 and not more than 110 registered voters residing in the specific Municipality/ Constituency to be contested.
Clearly, GECOM must ensure that electors can easily determine to which constituency they (or other electors) belong. GECOM is also obligated to ensure that contesting parties and groups can readily determine to which constituencies electors, candidates, and nominees belong.
The 2018 Official List of Electors (OLE) for LGE provides such information. (See attached copy). As you can see, the 2018 list describes the area of the constituency, provides the name of the LAA, and the name and number of the constituency.
For the next LGE, GECOM has completely failed in these regards. Failure to rectify the problem places an undue burden on electors and, worse, will deny most of them the information they need to make claims and objections, and to vote. GECOM must discharge its obligation to provide the voter with the knowledge and requisite information needed to effectively and meaningfully participate in LGEs. While we have not made a decision on participation, we are concerned that the law and established protocols are not being followed.
The 2022 PLE is manifestly unfit for this purpose. It is not only bloated, but it also violates the constitutional rights of electors. It undermines the integrity of the election. It is a recipe for disaster. GECOM must get its act together.
We, therefore, will be requesting an urgent meeting with GECOM to raise these fundamental concerns