Jun 15, 2020 News
By Shikema Dey
Incumbent Head of State, David Granger yesterday insisted that GECOM’S Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield did “remarkably well” in running the electoral process and presenting a report to the Commission that mirrored the widespread complaints of anomalies that the APNU+AFC Coalition raised through the recount.
Lowenfield submitted his report to the seven-member Commission on Saturday last. That report has been rejected by a host of stakeholders.
In the summary of each District, Lowenfield stated that “The summation of anomalies and instances of voter impersonation identified in District Nine clearly does not appear to satisfy the criteria of impartiality, fairness, and compliance with provisions of the Constitution and the ROPA Cap 1:03. Consequently, on the basis of the votes counted and the information furnished from the recount, it cannot be ascertained that the results for District Ten, Upper Demerara/Berbice, meet the standard of fair and credible elections.”
That addition of his opinion was said to be a “blatant violation” of the gazetted recount order.
Granger, in an interview with selected members of the media, stated that “Well, first, what is reported that Lowenfield said is similar to what APNU has complained about, in terms of the anomalies and irregularities.”
“My view is that he has done remarkably well under pressure and with the limited resources.”
According to Granger, “As far as Lowenfield’s authority, my understanding is that he has not done anything; he has not exceeded his authority. He has not done anything abnormal or unlawful.”
He told reporters that, “I accepted that what I read about what he wrote indicates that there has been widespread abuse, and this is what APNU+AFC has complained about publicly over the last hundred days.”
Granger explained that the validity of any election has to be based in part on its credibility, citing that evidence has emerged that “the totality of the votes is inconsistent with the likely voting population and the behaviour of that population.”
He said, “If it is shown, for example, that more ballots are recorded in polling stations than there are on the list of electors, it is incredible. It is incredible that you can have 380 votes when there are only 300 registered voters at that polling station.”
Throughout the electoral process, especially the National Recount, the Coalition has made a string of unsubstantiated claims of widespread ‘fraud’ in the March 2, 2020 polls. The party was repeatedly asked by reporters to produce evidence to support their claims but up to press time, none has been presented.
The President said that in determining the validity of an elections, credibility cannot be separated while also adding that Lowenfield was well within his right to note his opinion in the report.
“Mr. Lowenfield, if that is what he did, if he has commented on credibility, he is quite in order to do so. I mean, in any field, even if you’re running for you know, election in a sports club, if more votes are recorded than you have sportsmen in the club, people will question the credibility. You can’t remove the issue of credibility. You cannot say that is of no account because the number of voters is all that we’re interested in.”
Lowenfield in his report suggested that billions of dollars were wasted in the conduct of the 2020 elections after citing that credible results cannot be derived from the process. His comments would have also cast doubt on himself, as the CEO of the Elections Commission, being unable to run a proper election.
In this light, President Granger was asked whether Lowenfield should tender his resignation.
To this, Granger said, “I don’t think the question of resignation arises. I think under the circumstances, he did what he was empowered to do under the law and capable to do with the resources. Mr. Lowenfield was not to be blamed for that and I won’t want a resignation. I won’t expect him to offer a resignation. I think he did quite well in the circumstances.”
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