This coming elections will be the closest one Guyana will have in over fifty years. The possibilities of power gained or lost will cause many political fiends to contemplate rigging the vote in this close election. Every single party, voter and citizen, whether they are voting or not, must be vigilant.
Vigilance starts with every party having enough competent scrutineers at every polling station.
Only pure laziness and rank incompetence would account for a major party like the PPP/C, PNCR and AFC not having scrutineers at every polling station. And yes, I did say ‘every’ polling station.
Attempts at intimidation such as marking residents when they go to vote and threatening voters should warrant immediate arrest. Political parties should have observers in the various voting districts recording, observing and reporting these despicable acts.
Special attention must be paid to attempts to buy votes and citizen arrests must be executed where necessary. Cell phones, cameras and other recording devices should not be allowed in the voting booths for obvious reasons. Parties must pay keen attention to names deliberately left off the list.
Party scrutineers must remain in the polling station and actively participate in all vote counting exercises until every single vote is counted.
Party representatives must also accompany ballot boxes to any central location and must be present during the tallying process. Parties should obtain the tally for each polling station from their scrutineers to form its own independent count in order to cross-match its results with the official results.
Voter turnout must be paid special attention as it is an opportunity for parties to pad votes. Special attention must be paid to outlying regions since these regions tend to have limited scrutineers and are very susceptible to electoral fraud.
Parties should create a voter count system to count every single voter coming through the polling station door. The parties can then look for voter turnout and vote count discrepancies when the final numbers are presented.
Parties must ensure they have dominant domain and accurate control over the tallying/counting process at the polling stations. Accurately obtained results at this stage make it difficult for rigging to occur. Every act of attempted fraud must be recorded by parties and their community observers. The difference between minority and majority government in this election can very well be a few thousand votes.
So can the difference between winning and losing the election. With two thousand polling stations, that is a mere few votes per polling station. Electoral fraud cannot be allowed to derail democracy on November 28. In this digital age, parties have a formidable weapon of instantaneous mass communication. Every instance of attempted fraud, rigging and electoral skullduggery must be immediately reported to the public by every mass communication method. The shame from this indecent exposure should be enough but those who pursue electoral fraud must also be aware that in this country of a broken rule of law, this instant feed of information can nourish frenzy, ignorance, rage, violence and retaliation. In a powder keg of a country prone to hasty reprisals, electoral fraud can have frightening and macabre consequences.
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