Discrepancies and irregularities are certainties in elections everywhere, including Guyana but the sheer scope and regularity of the anomalies and illegalities recorded in the observation reports attached to the completed Statements of Recount (SORs) demonstrate unequivocally a pattern of widespread electoral malpractice with concomitant benefits and loss for the main political parties. The first indication of possible electoral fraud was contained in the declarations by the 10 District Returning Officers which detailed an explosion of voter turnout which grew by over 15% over 2015 – 415,970 (2015) / 479,510 (2020) – made possible by the bloated OLE of approx. 660,000 persons vigorously championed by the PPP/C and opposed by APNU+AFC. The regions with the largest increases in voter turnout were Regions No. 1 (33%) and No. 9 (28%), while Region No. 6 registered the smallest increase of only 4%. A voters’ list which includes a large number of deceased and migrated persons creates opportunities for their impersonation and for multiple voting, the evidence of which has been provided.
What is even more alarming, in my view, is the widespread unavailability, or disappearance, of Poll Books which are used to record every instance of balloting that is considered beyond the ordinary or regular. Required entries in the Poll Book relate to, among other things, the following:
1. The verification of an elector’s identity;
2. Blind or incapacitated voters (whose ballot paper is marked by a friend or by the Presiding Officer);
3. Issuance of tendered ballot papers (shows the name of any elector who is issued a tendered ballot paper);
4. Ballot papers refused (name of elector and reason for refusal); and
5. Certificates of Employment (names of persons submitting Certificates of Employment)
A situation in which over 33% of Poll Books were not produced for the ballot boxes examined so far cannot be explained, excused or defended as human error but is tantamount to corrupt awareness and coordinated intent to hinder the discovery of overwhelming electoral malpractice evidenced by the recording of votes for a particular political party without the attendant documents, certificates and oath forms. In an electoral system, where the apportioning of seats can be determined by a few votes, by a few hundred votes or a few thousand votes, anomalies and irregularities counted in the hundreds and thousands have the obvious potential to determine the scale of electoral advantage and, if appropriately addressed, can result in a more substantial advantage for APNU+AFC which seems very likely. It is perhaps, not surprising therefore, that the several foreign missions, observers, political parties, civil society persons and organizations, and “guardians of democracy” of every persuasion who were exceedingly vocal and intemperate in demanding and threatening sanctions and imprisonment in the absence of clear evidence of widespread electoral wrong-doing have lost their indignant concern for Guyana’s well-being when confronted with such abundant and incontrovertible evidence of criminality, their sponsors and agents.
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