ASSISTANT Elections Agent for Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), John Adams, says he will be writing the Region’s Returning Officer, Mohanlall Jagdeo for a recount of two ballot boxes from West Coast Demerara polling stations, following allegations of Disciplined Services ballots not being counted and another of spoilt ballots being counted.
In the case of the uncounted Disciplined Services ballots, Adams said that according to reports reaching him, it was at a polling station at Vergenoegen where a Presiding Officer (PO) is alleged to have failed to stamp, intermix and count Disciplined Services ballots that were assigned to her polling station.
“That PO didn’t know, or didn’t remember, so she did not stamp and intermix the Disciplined Services ballot at some polling station at Vergenoegen. So those ballots, they remained in an envelope. I am now learning about this today, so I will ask for that box to be opened tomorrow. So that is another issue I will have on my hand in the morning,” Adams shared on Tuesday evening.
Up to late Tuesday evening, the region’s returning officer, Mr. Jagdeo, could not be contacted for a comment on the situations.
In Guyana, the Disciplined Services, which includes ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), cast their ballots for the general and regional elections on a designated date prior to Elections Day. This year, they voted on February 28, while the rest of the country voted on March 2.
The Disciplined Services ballots are not stamped on the day they vote; instead, the unstamped ballots are deposited at a random polling station on Elections Day, and stamped with that polling station’s six- digit stamp, before being intermixed and counted with all other ballots cast at that polling station.
Adams, who is also a candidate for the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), said he will also be asking for a recount of another ballot box, following reports from polling agents at a Parika polling station that the PO assigned a number of spoilt ballots to the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC). He said he has already written to the RO requesting a recount of that indicated ballot box.
Spoilt ballots are considered rejected ballots, and are not supposed to be assigned to any political party. “There were about 15 spoilt ballots. Our agent told us that the PO took the ballots that were not good into the box, and recorded it as for the PPP,” Adams related. Following the declaration of elections results, parties are afforded a period during which they can request, and must be afforded a recount of particular ballot boxes. Adams said he has also written Jagdeo requesting a list of the rejected ballots in the Region.