GECOM Chair says no intention to disenfranchise anyone

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Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairperson, Retired Justice Claudette Singh has assured that persons whose name will be removed from the Official List of Electors for failure to uplift their identification cards would still be allowed to vote.

Her comment comes in light of mounting concerns over GECOM’s intention to remove some 25,000 persons from the voters’ list for not uplifting their ID cards.

During an interview on local radio programme “The Political Show” – her first such engagement since taking the helm of the Elections Commission – Justice Singh explained that the issue was really about the verification of these approximately 25,000 persons, who, since the 2008 House-to-House Registration exercise, have not uplifted their ID cards.

“They’d be given 21 days to come in and just say I’m alive; I don’t want the card or whatever,” she stated.
According to the GECOM Chair, failure to make that verification will result in those persons’ names being removed from the voters list.

They will remain on the National Register of Registrants Database (NRRD), which contains the names of all potential voters from which the voters’ lists are extracted.

The GECOM Chair said when the names will be removed from the OLE, it will be placed and place them on another list supplementary to the OLE.

“So, if on Elections Day, one of those persons turn up [to vote], they would be allowed to vote once they come armed with maybe a passport – some form of identification.”

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Opposition has expressed concern over the move by GECOM to remove thousands of persons from the voters’ list, saying that it was not only in violation of the law but against Justice Singh’s own ruling in the 1997 Esther Pereira elections petition case.

However, the GECOM Chair was firm that the decision was already made on the way forward regarding this matter and that the Opposition was aware of this.

“A decision was taken to remove the names from the OLE, but in implementing that decision, that is the way we will go forward, because I am very mindful of anybody being disenfranchised,” she stressed.