The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has one again raised its concern about members of the Disciplined Services voting without National Identification Cards (IDs) at the Local Government Elections (LGE).
Today at a press conference, General Secretary of the party, Clement Rohee highlighted several other discrepancies that his party would like to be addressed by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
It is also calling for legislative reforms, restricting voting without an ID card or Passport.
“The PPP/C repeats its alarm at the high incidence of Disciplined Services (DS) Electors presenting themselves without aNational Identification (ID) card for the purposes of voting. It notes that, while the detailed statistics on this phenomenon are being reviewed, the widespread and unusual occurrences of this nature can only serve to undermine the integrity of the polls. While it is still possible to vote after the proper administering of an “Oath of Identity” the opportunity can be used for electoral fraud by; the misdirecting of voters; double and multiple voting by impersonation and collusion; and the slowing down of the process of voting leading to voter frustration and disorder at the polling places,” he noted.
The General secretary said the party remains firm in its view that voting without an ID card “should be a rare exception rather than a new normal situation.”
The opposition party believes that GECOM’s voter education efforts, which has incurred enormous costs have seemingly failed.
Accusations of “voter molestation and intimidation” by senior disciplined services officers were also raised by the party.
“The only lawful role for military and police officialdom with respect to the DS voter on DS election day is to provide the opportunity to vote lawfully,” Rohee contended.
Rohee is asking GECOM’s Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally for an early explanation for GECOM staff being “prominently embossed in a green roundel with a yellow interior,” deeming this as a public display of political bias by the electoral body.
Additionally, the PPP noted “the rather low turnout of disciplined service voters as constituting 54.9 percent of 6,978 registered DS voters. A total of 3,831 DS electors did not vote and of those who voted a high number of 513 voted without ID cards representing 13.4 percent of the persons who voted on DS LGE day.”
Other concerns raised by the party include, breaches of the 200 yards boundary, inappropriate colour symbolism, lack of diversity of GECOM staff and quality folio pictures.