APNU+AFC insists no ballot box should be opened after 5:30pm

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While pledging full cooperation with the Guyana Elections Commission in its recount exercise, the APNU+AFC coalition on Friday insisted that no ballot box should be opened after 5:30pm on any given day of the recount exercise.

The gazetted order explicitly states that the timeline for the daily recount of votes cast in the March 02, 2020 elections is from 8:00am to 7:00pm.

Explaining the coalition’s reasoning for its position, Party Agent David Patterson said the coalition does not want to open any boxes that will likely run the count beyond the 7pm cut off time.

Speaking with reporters outside the Arthur Chung Conference Center Friday morning, Patterson said there was a prior agreement in this regard and noted the need for better scheduling for the opening of boxes.

“It was our understanding that you wouldn’t open a box after 5:30… so at some times and even yesterday, there was an issue because we stood our ground at 10 to 6 when someone wanted to open a box and we said no we have an agreement,” Patterson said.

Only 65 boxes were counted at the end of day two of the recount which projects the exercise to be behind if the 25 days deadline is to be met.

Patterson pointed out that in order for the deadline to be met, at least 60 boxes would have to be counted daily.

He said he is hopeful that the pace can be increased but offered no compromise on opening boxes after 5:30pm.

He told reporters that if GECOM makes a decision to do so, then the coalition would have no other option but to cooperate with GECOM.

“It’s a slow, tedious and painstaking process but I dare say that there is no deliberate attempt to slow the process,” he added.

As of Thursday, tabulation is done daily between 5pm and 6:30pm, with Patterson noting that this can be done simultaneously while counting is ongoing.

Patterson said the APNU+AFC continues to participate fully in the recount and will make its observations known to GECOM and the public.

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