In wake of a claim by one Deputy Returning Officer that Deputy Returning Officers were instructed by the Clerk to the Returning Officer not to include official GECOM documents in the ballot boxes, several other Deputy Returning Officers have stepped forward to deny that any such instruction was ever given.
The Guyana Elections Commission has launched a probe into the circumstances that may have led to a number of statutory documents not being included and sealed in ballot boxes at 29 polling stations along the lower East Coast Demerara.
The discrepancy was uncovered during the recount of ballots on Thursday and Friday.
In a letter to the Commission, Deputy Returning Officer Paul Jaisingh claimed that DROs were contacted during the elections and instructed not to place the documents in the ballot boxes.
However, in a separate letter several other DROs said there was no such instruction.
In a statement, the Guyana Elections Commission said the group of several DROs indicated in their letter that they were advised by the Clerk to the Returning Officer to make regular checks to all stations ensuring that there was a smooth flow and that in case of an emergency or any difficulty encountered, they should make contact with her.
They also said that they were also instructed to remind Presiding Officers to ensure all statutory documents were in the ballot boxes before those boxes were sealed.
GECOM said it is now making efforts to locate the missing documents and it has also made a decision not to tabulate the votes from the 29 boxes with missing documents.
The APNU+AFC has raised serious concern over the issue and said it points to massive fraud at those polling stations since none of the votes could be validated in the absence of the official documents. The coalition wants GECOM to call in the Police to probe the matter.
The PPP picked up more than 5000 votes from the ballot boxes with the missing documents.