Lowenfield to tweak recount plan to reduce time

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Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield has been asked by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to revise his draft proposal to accommodate additional recommendations made for a national recount of votes cast on March 2, 2020.

With the new recommendations, it is believed that Lowenfield’s initial proposal of a 156-day timeline for the recount will likely be reduced following the removal of certain restrictions.

In calculating the time which it will take to complete the process, Lowenfield had proposed three work stations to count the ballots simultaneously.

GECOM Commissioners Sase Gunraj and Vincent Alexander in an invited comment to the media on Thursday following a seven-hour meeting explained that the CEO’s initial proposal surrounded the need for each station to be manned by two Commissioners –one from each side of the political divide – but this restriction has been removed.

“With the removal of that restriction, that can be expanded easily,” Gunraj said.

Sase Gunraj, GECOM Commissioner

Gunraj and the two other Opposition nominated GECOM Commissioners proposed the work stations to be increased to 20.

Alexander told the media that he is not against the proposal to increase the stations but noted that this is dependent on the space and the available human resources from GECOM.

He said the time to count one ballot box is still under consideration and so a starting date and time for the recount is yet to be decided.

“The time to count the ballots is dependent on the things to be done in the process of counting the ballots. There is a variance in this manner. From the inception, we made it very clear that it will not be a mere numerical count,” Alexander said.

GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander

The Government nominated GECOM Commissioner explained that the recount entails going through the poll book and counting as though it is being done at the place of polls which includes taking into consideration the number of ballots cast, proxies, spoilt ballots and every other ballot in the box.

The Commissioners have agreed to retain the Arthur Chung Conference Centre as the venue for the national recount.

It has also been agreed that party agents, electoral observers and CARICOM will be present at the venue.

The issue of live streaming the recount has been discussed but has not been finalized.

The Chief Elections Officer is expected to present an amended plan on Tuesday.

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