29 East Coast boxes await checks over missing documents
- Ballots stamped and matches SOPs
The country’s Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, who collects all elections materials after voting and counting ends, on Saturday evening denied he had any of the missing documents that should have been in 29 ballot boxes from the East Coast of Demerara and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is expected to meet and determine the way forward.
Parties say GECOM officials at the highest level are responsible for the missing documents and this is the latest ploy to create chaos as the national vote recount winds down with just 74 boxes left to be counted.
If Lowenfield doesn’t have the documents, it would mean that they are in possession of the Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo who manipulated the tabulation of the vote count in District Four in favour of APNU+AFC, led by President David Granger who now buys into the unsubstantiated claims by his party that deceased and migrant voters persons were marked off as having voted.
As at June 5, Lowenfield said it was noted that a total of twenty-nine (29) boxes from the East Coast of Demerara had missing official documents (Marked Official List of Electors, Poll Books, Counterfoils etc.).
The procedure after voting ends and the votes are counted at each polling station, is for all materials to be handed over by the Presiding Officers to the Deputy Returning Officers (who control a cluster of polling stations) and they in turn hands over everything to the Returning Officer, in this case Mingo, who is then supposed to pass them on to Lowenfield.
Paul Jaisingh, one of the Deputy Returning Officers for District Four, has written to the Chair of GECOM to explain that instructions were given by one Carlyn Duncan (Clerk to the Returning Officer Mr Clairmont Mingo-District # 4) to include only unused, valid and rejected ballots in the ballot boxes.
Lowenfield Saturday night claimed a group of Deputy Returning Officers denied Mr Jaisingh’s claim. But Lowenfield did not name who they are and he also did not release what he said was a signed statement from the group of Deputy Returning Officers denying Mr Jaisingh’s claim.
Deputy Returning Officers were called to meet with GECOM but none showed up. Lowenfield said he will now try to find the Presiding Officers.
Of the boxes with missing documents, 28 were already counted and tabulated but the tabulation supervisor was advised to highlight those figures during the livestream on the ongoing tabulation for Region 4 pending a decision of the Commission.
It is expected that the large block of voters cannot be disenfranchised as all the ballots are stamped as being validly issued and the statement of recount matches the Statement of Poll issued on Elections night which all Party Agents would have signed.