The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) appears disinterested in a proposal put forward by one of its Commissioners, Vincent Alexander, for there to be a biometric requirement for voting.
According to Mr. Alexander, who is an APNU+AFC nominated Commissioner, while there are currently no moves to sanitize the bloated list of electors, he suggested a mechanism to prevent duplicate voting and other forms of illegal voting.
Alexander is suggesting a biometric voting system where the fingerprint of voters would be checked and verified before voting.
He explained that such a task will not be difficult because GECOM records the fingerprints of registrants to avoid persons from registering more than once.
During an online talk show interview, Alexander said his suggestion would provide a more secure and clean voting system.
“And in that way, though we will continue to have a bloated list and a challenge as to how we in fact get a clean list, we will have a barrier to those who in the past and in the future who want to perpetuate the crime of multiple voting, so that’s the proposition. Let us have a simple mechanism at the place of poll where your fingerprints are checked against those in the database, once it’s your fingerprints then you are cleared to vote, if it’s not there, you have committed a crime and should be dealt with condignly,” Alexander noted.
Alexander said his suggestion has not found favor with his fellow Commissioners from the government side who have argued that owing to proposed constitutional and legislative changes, his proposal falls outside of the remit of GECOM.
“They have refused to be party to any such recommendation they prefer to stay silent and let the status quo remain. On the question of the biometric proposition, there has been no discussion, no debate and therefore no comment from them in that regard,” Alexander pointed out.
Alexander said he also proposed a review of the system with specific reference of the conduct of the 2020 elections. He said although there has been an admission that things went wrong with the system during the 2020 elections, moves to find out what went wrong in order to fix it has also received the cold shoulder at the Commission.
“The government claims that it wants to do that and in wanting to do that they come with recommendations. But GECOM’s review which is critical in pointing out where the problems are has not been a part of the process of determining what changes are needed,” Alexander explained.
According to the GECOM Commissioner, there has been a commitment to discuss the cracks in the system after Local Government Elections are held, but he said that will defeat the purpose since any review should be done before another election takes place.