Local poll monitors satisfied with validity of voting process

Stabroek News
March 21, 2001

The Electoral Assistance Bureau (EAB) yesterday declared that it was satisfied with the validity of Monday's voting process notwithstanding a number of concerns.

The EAB - which monitored 1,200 of the 1,900-odd polling stations - disclosed voter tallies on 362 statements of poll it had received so far from its observers. With statements from all regions except Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), the PNC REFORM had recorded 41,633 votes, the PPP/Civic 39,212, GAP/WPA 2,013, ROAR 783, JFA 726, GDP 290, TUF 83 and NFA 56 for a total of 85,516.

A number of problems were detected by the EAB during voting. These included the varying times of opening of the poll at different locations; reports of shortages of ink, the official stamp, ballot paper and envelopes and disorder at polling booths whenever a number of them were close to each other.

In addition, the EAB pointed to frustration caused to voters who had either a valid ID card or stub but whose name did not appear on the final voters list or the addendum; the reportedly threatening behaviour by a few citizens towards Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and EAB volunteers at some polling stations and the decision to extend the closing of polling stations beyond the prescribed time.

The EAB - which also monitored the 1997 and 1992 elections - said it will issue a detailed analysis of these concerns after more careful investigation of the facts.

On polling day, the EAB operated a hotline to aid voters who did not know if their names were on the voters list or where they were to vote. "The EAB received over 1,000 calls between 0700 hrs and 1900 hrs, and was able to direct a number of persons to their correct places of poll, and to confirm to a majority of them that their names were not on EAB's computer list", the organisation said.

"The EAB would like to remind all Guyanese that peace and tranquility are essential in this post election period".