The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has dismissed claims that some members of the joint services were wilfully disenfranchised last Friday ahead of the June 12 Local Government Elections.
However, the Commission has indicated that for those eligible members who did not get to vote last Friday, they will be allowed to cast their ballots next Monday.
Opposition Commissioner on the Elections, Vincent Alexander has alleged that some 10% of joint services members were disenfranchised last week. But GECOM has dismissed Alexander’s claims as false.
In a statement, GECOM’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward said it must be emphasized that the Elections Commission did not disenfranchise any Member of the Disciplined Forces.
She said all of the ranks from the various forces were given an equal opportunity to cast their ballots in the Local Government Elections on Friday, 2nd June, as provided for in the Local Authorities (Elections) Act.
Commissioner Alexander was quoted in the Stabroek News as saying that 900 Disciplined Services ranks were not able to vote because their names were not on the lists.
A number of ranks complained that although they have been serving members of the Disciplined Forces for a number of years, their names could not be found on any of the lists of Disciplined Services members.
GECOM explained that it prepared a “Register of Ranks” who were eligible to vote following constant communication between senior officials of the respective Forces and the Ballot Officers.
The Elections Commission said when those lists of ranks were received, they were verified against the National Register of Registrants Database to determine the eligibility of each officer to vote in the LGE due to the fact that only persons who were registered in a Local Authority Area were required to vote.
According to GECOM, the ‘Register of Ranks’ to vote on Disciplined Services Balloting Day is prepared based on the list submitted to GECOM by the respective Forces.
GECOM said once the eligible officers were determined, they were listed to vote at the locations where they were stationed.
GECOM also clarified that it ensured that names of the ranks were placed on a list where they were stationed and it was displayed at all the Balloting Stations countrywide prior to Disciplined Forces Balloting Day.
The Elections Commission said ranks who did not get to vote last Friday, will be allowed to vote on Monday with the rest of the country. However, they will have to return to their Local Authority Area to cast their ballot.
Persons can get information on their voting areas by visiting the GECOM website – www.gecom.org.gy