GECOM to address convergence at polling places with party agents
The Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) will soon meet with party agents where the issue of convergence outside of polling places will be addressed.
This was revealed by Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield during an engagement with media operatives on Saturday in Georgetown.
“(At) our engagements with the representatives …primarily with the agents of the respective parties…those matters will be addressed in a definitive manner,” he noted.
His comments come on the heels of concerns about calls from members of the governing coalition for their party supporters to gather in front of polling stations at the close of polls and follow the ballot boxes to GECOM’s head office.
According to the laws of Guyana, it is illegal to go closer than 200 yards to polling stations except for the reason of voting.
Lowenfield said while the law does not exactly address the convergence of persons outside of polling stations, persons who are found annoying, molesting or otherwise interfering with electors, can be fined $65,000 and jailed for six months.
“What has been said…is deemed a contravention of the laws of the game,” the CEO said.
Lowenfield explained the GECOM officials and party agents are the ones who will be following the boxes until they are locked away at GECOM’s head office, Kingston, Georgetown.
“The Commission has approved the movement of agents from the respective parties to…they will observe GECOM placing the boxes into a container in the presence of all party agents,” he explained.
On the day of Disciplined Services voting –ten days before Elections Day –the ballot boxes and statements, due to the fewer number of locations, are moved together, while on Elections Day, they will be transported to the Returning Officers and subsequently to GECOM.
According to the CEO, there are five polling places for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), three for the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and one for the Guyana Prison Service (GPS).
There will be over 2,500 polling stations for E-Day.
Additionally, the CEO said there are security features in the ballots and statements of poll by which the Commission can determine authenticity.