Over 21, 000 new voters, persons not registered get second chance to make list
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) wrapped up a three-month long registration exercise just over a week ago where it managed to capture over 21, 000 new voters.
With the conclusion of this exercise, GECOM is preparing to send the fingerprints of almost 50, 000 new applicants, including persons between the ages of 14 and 17, for cross-matching after which a preliminary list of electors will be compiled.
That preliminary list will then be exposed to public scrutiny through a process of Claims and Objections, to be held for a limited time only.
It is at this juncture that persons, who were not registered during the three-month registration exercise but are eligible, can make a claim to be added to the National Register of Registrants database and subsequently the Official List of Electors (voters’ list).
Providing a detailed update on the registration exercise, GECOM’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Yolanda Ward told the News Room on Thursday that a total of 70, 041 transactions were completed.
For new registrations of persons 18-years-old and above, a total of 21, 130 persons were processed while 28, 149 persons were registered between the 14 to 17 age categories.
Those persons between 14 – 17 are to become eligible voters by the next general and regional elections expected by 2025.
Other transactions included persons seeking transfers (4, 629); persons making changes and corrections to their particulars (6, 527); persons seeking replacement identification cards (7, 667); and persons for photo retake (1, 940).
Ward said “these numbers will slightly fluctuate when we reconcile with our offices to ensure we have final figures and when we complete our administrative processes.”
She could not give a timeline for the completion of cross-matching and the start of the Claims and Objections exercise but she said that following discussions at the level of the seven-member Commission, the secretariat is prepared to move ahead.
The end result of this process will see the names not objected to being committed to the National Register of Registrants database, while simultaneously, there will be the production of ID cards.
The names remain in the database until the time of an election when those who meet the eligibility criteria of 18 years and older will be extracted and added to the voters’ list.
GECOM had previously said that residency verification and other due diligence checks, such as cross-matching the fingerprints of all applicants, are mandatory.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS
This process is also in tandem with preparations for the holding of Local Government Elections (LGE) expected later this year.
All stakeholders have agreed that an updated voters’ list is important even as GECOM has already begun advertising for polling day staff and training of those persons will commence shortly.
When contacted by the News Room on Thursday, GECOM Commissioners Bibi Shadick and Sase Gunraj both welcomed the conclusion of the registration exercise as it paves the way for the voters’ list to be updated within the coming weeks.
Gunraj said it is important that the list is updated and ready for LGE.
“That will dictate the trajectory for the holding of these elections,” Gunraj posited.