Staggered voting as disciplined services ranks cast ballots

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Off to a slow start in far from crowded polling stations, members of the Disciplined Services today voted to elect their representatives at the local government level.

Members of the Guyana Defence Force, Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Prison services cast their ballots in what has been described by Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) officials as a “staggered system.”

GECOM’s Chairman, Justice James Patterson, was on the ground early this morning to observe the process and shared sentiments that the voting process was off to a slow start.

He remained hopeful when he spoke to the media just before noon on Friday that there will be a sizeable turnout of the 7918 ranks slated to vote.

“My initial observation is that it is too slow, but then I remember that this is the forces that have to do duties as well…I expect a surge from 16:00hrs when many of them are off duty,” he said while at the Brickdam Police Station observing the polls.

Justice Patterson, along with other officials, visited several polling stations in Georgetown, along the East Bank of Demerara and the Linden/Soesdyke Highway.

Speaking to the issue of irregularity in the voting process, GECOM’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward, said the elections body received two reports of ranks going to vote and not finding their names on the list of voters.

She explained that GECOM used lists provided to them by the respective disciplined services and any omission of names is not likely to be an error on GECOM’s part.

Ward further explained that the matter is being investigated, but it could also be that those ranks whose names cannot be found do not reside in any local authority area.

“If this is the case[names have been omitted], officers who have not voted will still have the opportunity to vote in their local authority area on November 12th,” she explained.

Polls will close at 6pm today with great anticipation that there will be a rush to the polls after 4pm this evening.

A total of 7,918 ranks are expected to vote at 63 locations countrywide. Citizens will vote in local polls on November 12.

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