47% of registered Disciplined Services members voted in LGE last Friday -GECOM

47% of registered Disciplined Services members voted in LGE last Friday -GECOM

-by Svetlana Marshall-

One week after members of the Disciplined Services went to the local government polls ahead of the rest of the country, the Guyana Elections Commission has revealed that 47% of the more than 9,000 registered Disciplined Services members, cast their ballots.

At a press conference today, the Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Aneal Giddings disclosed that the 47% turn out for the Disciplined Forces is actually an increase over the turnout at the last Local Government Elections.

In spite of reports that some members of the Disciplined Services were unable to vote due to their names not being found on the Voters’ Lists at their assigned locations, Chief Elections Officer, Vishnu Persaud said no one was disenfranchised.

“As far as I am aware, every single person who turned up to vote were allowed to vote providing that their names are on the list for the particular ballot station,” he said, while adding “these lists were signed off by persons authorized to do so on behalf of the respective forces. The preparation of these lists are done in collaboration with us. We, at GECOM, will never no where a rank is placed or where a rank is stationed.”

Mr. Persaud said the affected members of the Disciplined Services who did not vote on June 2, will have the opportunity to do so within their Local Authority Areas on Monday.  

The CEO also confirmed that some members of the Disciplined Services who voted last Friday, have been asked to recast their ballots on Monday, due to a mix up which resulted in several tainted ballots.

“So, we had two cases of ballots being incorrectly issued on D-Day, meaning, the ballot for one person was erroneously issued to another person. We can speculate as to why it would have happened. Even the person to whom the ballot was issued did not recognise what was issued was a wrong ballot, and therefore, that person went and voted with that ballot. So, the outcome of that is that the ballot having being marred will find itself in an envelope to go to a constituency to elect a party, a group or a candidate for which, the person, whose ballot it in fact was, might not have intended to vote that way, and therefore, that ballot could not, cannot and will not be counted as a valid ballot. It was issued in error,” the CEO explained.

He said because of that issue and other errors, at least six other ballots were left tainted, and the affected persons have been asked to return to the polls.

“Now, the same situation, happened in another polling station and affected another constituency. In that case, six other ballots became tainted. They had to be removed. It was, and it is through no fault of the persons, whose ballots became tainted that their ballots will now have to be void. So, at the level of the Commission, a decision was taken that we have to ensure that those persons are allowed to vote again, and that it is our responsibility to do everything we can so as to not to place a burden on those to come and vote again,” Persaud explained.

According to the CEO, the affected voters have been engaged individually, and they have all agreed to accept the help of the Commission to ensure that come Monday, they are able to cast their ballots a second time.

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