With proposed changes, failure to periodically remove dead voters’ names could be punishable by law


Failure to periodically remove the names of dead people from the voters’ list could soon be punishable by law, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall said on Tuesday.

The measure is part of the amendments proposed through the ongoing process of electoral reform.

The Representation of the People Act (RoPA), Guyana’s main electoral law, allows for people to be registered to vote once they meet certain requirements. It also allows for electors to be removed from the voters’ list when they die.

Both processes are legal, statutory processes.

The removal of dead people from the list has been a topical matter, and Nandlall explained that the Chief Registration Officer should remove those names at regular intervals.

This responsibility will be clearly defined in the forthcoming amendments.

“Apparently it was not clear but we are now making it an obligation and I believe it will carry a criminal offence if there is a breach of that obligation,” Nandalll told reporters on Tuesday.

This amendment forms part of the wider thrust to strengthen the country’s elections systems and prevent any irregularities from occurring, the Attorney General said.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC

Nandlall’ statements come amid continued calls from the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) opposition for a clean voters’ list.

The opposition claims that there is a bloated voters’ list that should be cleansed before the next elections. There have also been calls to re-introduce a residency requirement for voting.

Ahead of the constitutionally due Local Government Elections, Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh recently said that the names on the list were legally registered and claims and objections exercise would allow persons to object to any irregularities.

Meanwhile, objections against the inclusion of names in the preliminary list of electors can be tendered to the Registration Officer of the registration area from August 22, 2022 to September 15, 2022.

The amendments to the electoral law are expected to be tabled in the National Assembly by the end of the year.

In the aftermath of the March 2020 general and regional elections, during which attempts were made at rigging the results, the PPP/C government has embarked on a process of amending RoPA.

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