HomeSitemapfaq
About GECOMAbout GuyanaReportsLinksContact
 

 

 

Interpretation of Part VII

Section 50 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) In this Part –

“ballot attendant” means an officer appointed under section 53(1);

“ballot officer”, “non-resident elector” and “non-resident electors’ roll” shall have the meanings assigned to them, respectively, by section 44.

(2) Reference in this Part to the serial number of a non-resident elector shall be construed as reference to the serial number of his registration card.

(3) A ballot officer may exercise any powers, and perform any duties, of a ballot attendant under any provisions of Part VII and references in any such provisions to a ballot attendant shall be construed accordingly with such modifications to the context as may be necessary for the purpose.

Issue of ballot papers to non-resident electors

Section 51 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

Not later than the 14th day before election day, there shall be posted to every non-resident elector -

  1. by such ballot officer as shall be provided under section 48(b) with copies of entries in the non-resident electors’ roll which include the name of that non-resident elector; or

  2. in any case where there is no such ballot officer, by the Chief Election Officer;

a sealed envelope, which shall be directed to the non-resident elector at his address appearing on the non-resident electors’ roll and shall contain the following –

(i) an unsealed envelope (hereafter referred to in this Part as the addressed envelope) addressed in the name, and to the office, of the officer issuing the same, which shall be recognizable by him on its return as having been issued under this paragraph;

(ii) a declaration of identity in Form 14 which shall bear the serial number of the non-resident elector on its reverse side;

(iii) an unsealed envelope (hereinafter referred to in this Part as the ballot envelope) addressed with the words “To the Chief Election Officer” and capable of containing a ballot paper and of being enclosed, together with the last mentioned form, in the addressed envelope;

(iv) a copy of the directions for balloting by non-resident electors as set out in Form 15;

(v) a ballot paper stamped with the official mark.

Notes of ballot papers issued

Section 52 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

Upon issuing a ballot paper to any non-resident elector under section 51, a ballot officer or the Chief Election Officer, as the case may be, shall -

  1. show that a ballot paper has been issued to the non-resident elector, but without showing the particular ballot paper issued, place a mark on such copy of entries in the non-resident electors’ roll as shall be used by him for the purposes of this paragraph; and

  2. enter on the counterfoil of the ballot paper the serial number of the non-resident elector.

Ballot attendants

Section 53 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) There shall be appointed such number of officers as the Chief Election Officer may consider requisite for the performance in any country of the functions of ballot attendants under this Act.

(2) The Chief Election Officer shall cause notice of the name and address of every ballot attendant to be published in the Gazette and may cause such further publication of the same, for the information of non-resident electors, as the Chief Election Officer considers desirable; and the address of the office of each ballot officer shall be notified under the foregoing provisions of this subsection as being also the address of a ballot attendant.

(3) The ballot attendant at every such office as aforesaid shall permit any person having authority by virtue of section 130(1)(f) for promotion of the election of a group of candidates, and designated in writing by their election agent, to attendant the balloting there by non-resident electors in the presence of the ballot attendant and shall afford that person, if and when he attends, all such reasonable facilities for observing the said balloting as that attendant can afford consistently with the orderly conduct of the proceedings, the discharge of his duties in connection therewith and the maintenance of the secrecy of the ballot.

(4) There shall not be more than one person designated as aforesaid by the election agent of each list of candidates to attend at the same office.

Recording of non-resident elector’s vote

Section 54 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

Every non-resident elector in receipt of the addressed and ballot envelopes, Form 13 and ballot paper issued to him under section 51(i), (ii), (iii) and (v) -

  1. may upon satisfying any ballot attendant as to his identity by way of production of his passport, travel document or other proof of such identity, and of the envelope directed to him under section 51, not later than the 9th day before election day –

(i) exhibit the said envelopes, Form 14 and ballot paper (unmarked) to the ballot attendant;

(ii) secretly mark and fold the ballot paper in the like manner as provided by section 81(2), enclose it in the ballot envelope and seal that envelope, in the presence of the ballot attendant, but so that the ballot attendant does not observe the sand manner of marking the ballot paper and

(iii) give the ballot envelope so sealed and Form 14 to the ballot attendant, who shall forthwith complete the said Form in the presence of the non-resident elector and issue to him a receipt in Form 16.

Provided that –

  1. if the non-resident elector is incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause from personally complying with the foregoing provisions of this paragraph, the ballot attendant may, at the request of the non-resident elector, comply or permit a person appointed by the non-resident elector to comply with any such provisions on his behalf, in his presence and according to his directions;

  2. the person so appointed shall be a non-resident elector, who shall, before the form of declaration is given to the ballot attendant under subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph, endorse on the reverse side of the form a certificate in the following terms:

“I, ………………………………………………………………………….
(names in block letters)

hereby certify that the non-resident elector whose serial number appears next hereto is physically incapacitated and voted with my assistance rendered at his request.

…………………………

(Signature)”; or

  1. if he prefers so to do, of if no ballot attendant is available, may –

(i) secretly mark and fold the ballot paper in the like manner as provided by section 81(2) and enclose it in the ballot envelope;

(ii) seal the ballot envelope;

(iii) complete Form 13 and enclose it, together with the ballot envelope, in the addressed envelope for posting under section 55(b).

Transmission of non-resident elector’s vote to ballot officer

Section 55 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

For the purpose of causing the vote recorded by him to be cast in the manner provided by section 62(1), every non-resident elector -

  1. having complied with section 54(a), shall thereupon surrender to the ballot attendant the addressed envelope exhibited under subparagraph (i) of that paragraph to such attendant, who shall –

(i) forthwith, in the presence of the non-resident elector, enclose therein the ballot envelope, and the declaration in the form, given by him under subparagraph (iii) of the said paragraph and seal the addressed envelope;

(ii) until its delivery to the officer mentioned in the next following subparagraph, keep the addressed envelope so sealed in safe custody and take every precaution to prevent its being opened or unauthorized access being had thereto; and

(iii) be responsible for delivering the addressed envelope not later than the 5th day before election day to the officer to whose office it is so addressed;

  1. having complied with section 54(b), shall seal the addressed envelope containing its enclosures under that paragraph and post it so as to be received by the officer to whose office it is so addressed not later than the 7th day before election day.

Safe custody of votes returned

Section 56 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Each officer to whom the addressed envelope issued by him in pursuance of section 51 (a) or (b) to any non-resident elector is returned as having been duly sealed by a ballot attendant, or as a sealed envelope presumably with enclosures under section 54(b), shall keep it in safe custody, and take every precaution to prevent its being illegally opened or unauthorized access being had thereto, prior to the discharge of his other duties and responsibilities in respect thereof:

Provided that any such envelope returned after the time allowed for its delivery or receipt under section 55(a)(iii) or (b), as the case may be, shall be kept separately from all other such envelopes returned in due time; and every ballot officer to whom any such envelope is returned after the time allowed as aforesaid shall cause it to be delivered to the Chief Election Officer as soon as practicable after such return thereof.

(2) For the purposes of section 148, and without prejudice to the generality of the provisions thereof, every envelope which has been sealed by a ballot attendant under section 55(a)(i), or has been returned to any officer as a sealed envelope mentioned in subsection (1) of this section, shall be deemed to be, until removal of the ballot paper therefrom according to law, a packet referred to in section 148(1)(d).

(3) Where the addressed envelope, form (whether completed or not), marked or unmarked ballot paper and the ballot envelope therefore, or any of the foregoing, issued by any officer in pursuance of section 51(a) or (b) are returned to him in such manner or condition as to preclude the application of subsection (1) in relation thereto, such officer shall nevertheless keep them in safe custody, and take every precaution to prevent unauthorized access being had thereto or any such envelope (if sealed) from being illegally opened, prior to the discharge for his other duties and responsibilities in respect thereof and, if he is a ballot officer, shall cause the same to be delivered to the Chief Election Officer as soon as practicable after their return as aforesaid.

Officers’ responsibilities

Section 57 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Each officer referred to in section 56 shall make up into separate packets, sealed with his seal –

  1. all the addressed envelopes returned to him as mentioned in section 56(1) and to which the proviso to that paragraph does not apply;

  2. such copy of entries in the non-resident electors’ roll as has been used by him for the purposes of section 52(a);

  3. the counterfoils with entries made thereon by him under section 52(b);

  4. any ballot papers with which he was furnished under section 46 and which have not been issued to non-resident electors pursuant to section 51;

  5. a statement in writing, to be called “the non-resident electors ballot papers account” prepared by him in Form 17,

and, if he is a ballot officer, shall deliver such packets, so sealed, not later than the day next preceding election day to the Chief Election Officer and be responsible for their safe custody until such delivery.

(2) The Chief Election Officer shall keep each packet sealed by him under subsection (1)(a), or delivered to him pursuant to compliance with paragraph (a) aforesaid, in safe custody and shall take every precaution to prevent any person from having unauthorised access to it, or from opening it except for the purposes of section 61.

(3) For the purposes of section 148, and without prejudice to the generality of the provisions thereof, each packet made up in pursuance of subsection (1)(a) of this section shall be deemed to be, until it is opened for the purposes of section 61, a packet referred to in section 148(1)(d).

Balloting by non-resident electors in particular cases.

Section 58 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Part, where any non-resident elector present in Guyana has reason to apprehend his being unable to vote (apart from subsection (4) on account of his absence from the address to which any sealed envelope is required by section 51 to be directed to him by post, such address being situated outside Guyana, the non-resident elector may apply to the Chief Election Officer for a ballot paper.

(2) Such application shall be in Form 18 and shall be posted to the office of the Chief Election Officer so as to be received by him not later than the 7th day before election day.

(3) Unless the Chief Election Officer is not satisfied as to the identity of the applicant upon comparison of his signature with that of the said non-resident elector on his registration card, which shall be made available for the purpose by the Commissioner of Registration, the Chief Election Officer shall grant the application and comply with sections 51 and 52, whether or not previously complied with, in relation to that non-resident elector as if -

  1. for the reference in section 51 to the 14th day before election day there had been substituted a reference to the 5th day before election day; and

  2. his address appearing in the non-resident electors’ roll were, by virtue of section 44(2)(b), such address in Guyana as shall be given by him in the said application.

(4) Where a non-resident elector is in receipt of a sealed envelope directed to him at an address in Guyana by virtue of the last preceding subsection, sections 54 and 55 apply in relation to such non-resident elector as if -

  1. reference in section 54(a) to proof of identity in lieu of (but not in so far as it may be requisite in addition to) a passport or travel document had been omitted;

  2. for every reference in section 54 or 55 to a ballot attendant there had been substituted a reference to the returning officer for the district in which that non-resident elector’s address given as mentioned in subsection (3)(b) is situated;

  3. for the reference in section 54(a) to the 9th day before election day there had been substituted a reference to the second day next before election day;

  4. for the reference in section 55 to the 5th day before election day there had been substituted a reference to election day:

Provided that section 54(b) or 55 does not apply to any non-resident elector in receipt of a sealed envelope directed to him as aforesaid.

(5) For the purposes of section 56(2), a returning officer acting by virtue of subsection (4)(b) of this section shall be deemed to be a ballot attendant.

(6) Where after the 10th day before election day a non-resident elector who apprehends his being unable to vote, apart from this subsection, on account of no ballot paper having been received by him, satisfies as to his identity the ballot attendant at the office of any ballot officer required to have issued a ballot paper to the non-resident elector and this Act applies to the envelope so handed to the non-resident elector and its contents as if they had been posted to him by the ballot officer not later than the 14th day before election day:

Provided that –

  1. section 54(b) or 55 does not apply as aforesaid and no ballot attendant, other than the ballot attendant so satisfied, shall be deemed referred to by subsection (a) of either such section in its application as aforesaid;

  2. the addressed envelopes duly returned to the ballot officer by virtue of the foregoing provisions of this paragraph shall be parcelled together, separately from the other enclosures, in his packet containing addressed envelopes under section 57(1)(a).

Time and place for casting non-resident electors’ votes.

Section 59 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) The provisions of the following sections of this Part shall be executed at such place in Guyana, and during such period commencing on election day, as may be specified by the Chief Election Officer by notice published in the Gazette and no person, other than -

  1. The Chief Election Officer and such staff appointed under section 7(d) as he may designate to assist him in the execution of those provisions;

  2. Members of the Commission;

  3. Candidates appointed under subsection (2);

  4. Election agents;

  5. Members of the Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force and the bodies known as the Guyana National service and the Guyana People’s Militia on duty;

  6. Such other persons as, in the opinion of the Chief Election Officer, have good reason to be present,

shall be present at the execution of any such provisions:

Provided that notwithstanding anything provided by any law or specified as aforesaid, but without prejudice to section 4, the execution of the provisions of the following sections of this Part may, in so far as the Chief Election Officer finds necessary for the purpose of ensuring the casting of the votes of non-resident electors duly delivered to him in accordance with this Act, be continued and completed after the expiration of the said period whether it expired during or with election day.

(2) The election agent of each group of candidates may appoint one of the candidates for the purposes of subsection (1)(c).

(3) Notice in writing of such appointment, stating the name and address of the candidate, shall be signed by the election agent and delivered to the Chief Election Officer not later than the 7th day before election day.

(4) There shall not be more than one candidate appointed from the same list of candidates for the said purposes.

Commencement of proceedings on election day for casting non-resident electors’ votes

Section 60 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

At the commencement of the period mentioned in section 59, the Chief Election Officer shall

  1. open a ballot box, which shall confirm to the requirements of section 40(2) but shall not be used for the purpose of casting the votes of any electors’ other than non-resident electors;

  2. ensure that there are not ballot papers or other papers in the ballot box;

  3. lock the ballot box, retain the key thereof and place his seal upon the ballot box in such manner as to prevent it being opened without breaking the seal;

  4. place the ballot box on a table in full view of all present where it shall remain until the ballot papers have been removed therefrom under section 103(1)(b).

Opening packets of non-resident electors’ ballot papers.

Section 61 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) The Chief Election Officer shall open each packet made up in pursuance of section 57(1)(a) and the addressed envelopes contained therein or delivered to him by virtue of section 58(4)(d); and in the course of execution of the foregoing provisions of this paragraph, the Chief Election Officer shall count and record the number of envelopes contained in each packet aforesaid and the number of envelopes so delivered to him.

(2) Upon opening any such envelope under subsection (1) of this section, the Chief Election Officer shall, if requested so to do by a candidate appointed under section 59 or election agent, satisfy himself as to the identity of the signatory of any declaration therein, made in Form 14, or of any certificate on the reverse side of any such Form, by comparing such signature with -

  1. the signature made on his registration care by the non-resident elector; or

  2. the signature (of which a specimen shall for purposes of record to enable the due execution of the provisions of this paragraph, have previously been required by the Chief Election Officer) of the ballot attendant or returning officer,

as the case may be, who the said signatory represents himself to be:

Provided that

  1. the Chief Election Officer shall not accede to any such request if he has decided that, for any reason, section 62 does not require a vote to be cast from the addressed envelope in question or in cases where in his opinion having regard to all the circumstances the request is unreasonable;

  2. every decision taken by the Chief Election Officer under the foregoing provisions of this section shall be final unless and until it is reversed by the High Court on an election petition presented under the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act.

(3) The Commissioner shall cause to be made available such registration cards as are required by the Chief Election Officer for the purposes of subsection (2)(a).

Casting of non-resident elector’s votes

Section 62 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

The casting of every vote dealt with in accordance with section 55 shall be effected by way of the ballot paper being removed without being unfolded from the envelope which contains it and being placed in the ballot box by the Chief Election Officer as soon as he shall have opened the addressed envelope so dealt with and, in the event of any request having been duly made in that behalf, satisfied himself under section 61(2) that the identity of the signatory of the declaration enclosed with the ballot envelope conforms to the requirements of this Act; and upon every such casting, the Chief Election Officer shall place a mark on his copy of the non-resident electors’ roll against the name of the non-resident elector whose serial number appears on the reverse side of the declaration enclosed as aforesaid.
Casting of non-resident vote for geographical constituencies

Section 62A of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) The ballot officer shall supply to every person entitled to ballot at the balloting place his ballot paper in an unsealed envelope; on the envelope shall be stated his name, polling district, division, code number and polling place.

(2) Upon issuing the unsealed envelope to the person entitled to ballot such person shall cast his ballot and place it in the envelope which he shall seal before placing it in the ballot box provided by the ballot attendant.

(3) Upon receipt of the envelopes containing the ballots cast the Chief Election Officer or his duly authorized representative shall sort the envelope in a packet for the relevant polling station in the relevant polling station in the relevant geographical district and prepare a written statement of the number of envelopes so sorted.

(4) The Chief Election Officer shall transmit all sealed envelopes with the cast ballots to the respective returning officers for each geographical district, together with a copy of the written record of the envelopes do dispatched.

(5) Each returning officer shall cause to be distributed to each presiding officer the sealed envelopes containing ballots to be cast at the specific polling station presided over by that presiding officer.

(6) At the commencement of poll and in the presence of polling agents the presiding officer shall verify the number of envelopes and cast the votes contained in those envelopes.

(7) The persons who balloted in accordance with this section shall be deemed to have cast their votes at the election in the districts in which the relevant ballot in places are situated.

(8) The votes deemed to have been cast the election in each district under subsection (7) shall be counted by the respective presiding officer and the provisions of section 83 shall apply mutates mutandis in relation to the counting of votes under this section.”

(2) For the purposes of the preceding subsection, a vote shall be deemed to have been dealt with in accordance with section 55 notwithstanding that the ballot envelope containing the same is found open except the ballot envelope appears to the Chief Election Officer to have been tampered with after having been sealed.

(3) Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this section, a vote shall not be cast if upon opening the addressed envelope containing the same, there is disclosed a declaration bearing under section 5(ii) the like serial number -

  1. as was entered on any counterfoil under section 52(b) and by virtue of section 58(3), the addressed envelope aforesaid not having been delivered ad mentioned in section 61(1); or

  2. as belongs to any non-resident elector against whose name an additional mark has been placed under section 52(a) and by virtue of section 58(6), the addressed envelope aforesaid not having been among parceled enclosures referred to in the proviso to the last mentioned subsection.

Further duties of Chief Election Officer in relation to packets

Section 63 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) The Chief Election Officer shall not leave outside any addressed envelope opened under section 61(1) such contents thereof as are not placed in the ballot box under section 62(1); and he shall make up into separate packets, sealed with his seal –

  1. all such envelopes from which votes have not been cast by reason of their containing declarations or certificates in respect of which the Chief Election Officer, having been duly requested to satisfy himself as to the identities of the signatories thereof, is not satisfied as mentioned in section 62(1);

  2. all such envelopes which contained votes cast under section 62(1);

  3. all other such envelopes from which such casting was not affected by reason of their having been found, upon being opened as a aforesaid, to contain enclosures which appear not to have been dealt with in accordance with section 55;

  4. all the addressed envelopes from which votes were precluded by virtue of section 62(3) from being cast;

  5. all the addressed envelopes returned as mentioned in the proviso to section 56(1), or delivered under that proviso, to him on or before election day;

  6. everything returned in such manner (not being the manner provided by virtue of section 58(4)(b) or condition as mentioned in section 56(3), or delivered in pursuance of that subsection, to him on or before election day;

  7. the copy of the non-resident electors’ roll marked under section 62(1).

(2) The Chief Election Officer shall, for the purpose of compliance with section 62(3), open the packet made up by each officer in pursuance of section 57(1)(b), and the packet made up by him in pursuance of subsection (c) of that section and containing counterfoils with entries made under section 52(b) and by virtue of section 58(3), and shall reseal every packet so opened as soon as its contents cease to be in use for the said purpose.

(3) The Chief Election Officer shall open the packet made up by each officer pursuant to section 57(1)(d), and the packet containing the non-resident electors’ ballot papers account prepared by that officer under section 57(1)©, for the purpose of verification of the said account by comparing it with the contents of the packet made up by him as aforesaid and with the relevant records made under sections 48 and 61(1) and the Chief Election Officer shall thereafter reseal both such packets.

Ballot boxes

Section 64 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:

More than one ballot box may be used for the purposes of this Part if the Chief Election Officer considers or finds a single ballot box to be inadequate, or the sue thereof to be inexpedient, for those purposes; and the provisions of section 60 shall, in so far as they are applicable, be complied with in relation to every ballot box which the Chief Election Officer decides shall be used as aforesaid.

Delegation of Chief Election Officer’s functions

Section 65 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

The Chief Election Officer may depute officers belonging to the staff appointed under section 7(d) to carry out his functions, or any of them, (including, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the exercise of his authority for the casting of any vote), under such provisions of the foregoing sections of this Part as are to be executed in conformity with section 59(1); and the officers so deputed, who shall be called overseas presiding officers, shall subject to any general or special directions given by the Chief Election Officer, delegated under this section to them, respectively.

 

About GECOM | About Guyana | Reports and Manuals | Links | Contact GECOM