With new amendments, ID cards must be continuously distributed
The government hopes to improve Guyana’s electoral system and with newly-passed amendments to the National Registration Act, the process of continuously registering voters will be improved.
Moreover, the amendments will lead to national Identification (ID) cards being continuously distributed instead of primarily ahead of elections.
The National Registration Amendment Bill was passed in the National Assembly early Tuesday morning, just after amendments to the Representation of the People’ Act (RoPA)– Guyana’s main elections law- were passed.
Both sets of amendments are part of efforts to improve Guyana’s electoral system.
“What this BIll seeks to do is strengthen and clarify the concept of a continuous registration system which is the registration system provided for our law,” Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall SC said.
In response to concerns raised, the amendments now provide for fixed periods for voter registration, regular removal of deceased persons from the official list of electors and the continuous issuance of ID cards.
Specifically on the issuance of the ID cards, Nandlall said, “There is a duty now for ID cards to be continuously issued upon registration so one doesn’t have to wait or line up at elections time only to get an ID card.”
The issuance of ID cards will be done during two periods. It begins from January to May, with a qualifying date of June 30 and then from July to November, with a qualifying date of December 31.
“This is the cycle that the law is creating now and this will not stop,” Nandlall said.
To regularly remove deceased persons from the voters’ list, it is now mandatory for the registrar of deaths to furnish the Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) with a list of dead people every four months.
Additionally, under the amended act, references to residency and house-to-house registration are removed. Nandlall explained that there is an “across the board” removal of residency requirement for voting but one must have an address in Guyana.
No other Parliamentarian participated in the debate on the Bill and the amendments were passed on Tuesday morning.