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Place and time of poll

Section 75 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

The poll shall be taken at each polling place on election day in accordance with this Part during the hours specified in the notice of poll:

Provided that if at the hour of the closing of the poll there are any electors waiting at the polling place to vote, the poll shall remain open for the sufficient time to enable those electors to vote.

Appointment of candidate to attend poll

Section 76 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) The election agent of each group of candidates may appoint one of the candidates, hereinafter in this Part referred to as a the “duly appointed candidate: to attend the poll at a polling place.

(2) Notice in writing of the appointment of a duly appointed candidate, stating his name and address, shall be signed by the election agent and delivered to the returning officer of the district in which the polling place is situate not later than the 7th day before election day.

(3) There shall not be more than one duly appointed candidate of the same list of candidates for any one poling place.

(4) Nothing in this section shall preclude a candidate being a duly appointed candidate for two or more polling places whether or not in the same district.

Opening of poll

Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

At the hour specified in the notice of poll for the opening of the poll the presiding officer, in the presence of such persons, if any, (being persons entitled to enter the polling place) as are present, shall -

  1. open the ballot box and ensure that there are no ballot papers or other papers therein and allow any authorised person present to make an entry in the poll book attesting to this fact;

  2. 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;

  3. place the ballot box on a table in full view of all present where it shall remain until the poll is closed;

  4. call upon the electors to vote.

Application to vote to hand identity paper to poll clerk

Section 78 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Each applicant to vote shall, upon entering the room where the poll is held, and after procuring his identity paper if made available for his procurement at the polling place in pursuance of section 43, state to the poll clerk his name, address and occupation and hand to him –

  1. his voter identification card; and

  2. if he has been appointed to vote as a proxy on behalf of another elector, the voter identification card of that elector and his notice of appointment to vote as proxy; and

  3. if he claims to be entitled to vote at the polling place by virtue of section 29(4) his certificate of employment.

(2) The poll clerk shall ascertain if the name of the applicant and that of any elector on whose behalf he holds a notice of appointment to vote as a proxy appear on the official list of electors, or part thereof, for the polling place and shall further ascertain whether any notice of appointment to vote as proxy is recorded in the copy of the list of proxies.

(3) Where there is contained in the official list of electors, or part thereof, a name or other particulars which correspond so closely with the name or other particulars entered on the voter identification card of an applicant to vote as to suggest that the entry in the official list or part thereof is intended to refer to him, the applicant shall, upon taking an oath of identity in Form 19, be deemed to be the person so named in the official list or part thereof.

(4) Where an applicant to vote hands to the poll clerk both his voter identification card and his certificate of employment, the poll clerk shall add his name to the official list of electors or part thereof and shall make an appropriate entry in the poll book.

(5) The poll clerk shall, after the foregoing provisions of this section have been complied with, return to the applicant to vote his voter identification card together with any other documents he has received from the applicant and direct him to hand the same to the presiding officer and apply to him for a ballot paper.

Duty of presiding officer upon application for a ballot paper

Section 79 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Upon receipt of the identity paper and other documents as directed under section 78(5) and upon application made to him for a ballot paper the presiding officer shall satisfy himself as to following –

  1. that the applicant has not already voted;

  2. the identity of the applicant and his entitlement to vote at the polling place;

  3. the authority of the applicant to vote as a proxy on behalf of another elector (if he applies so to vote).

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) the presiding officer may -

  1. examine the applicant’s fingers to ascertain if there appears on them any stain of electoral ink;

  2. compare the signature of the applicant with that on his identity papers;

  3. compare any photograph on his voter identification card with his face;

  4. compare the thumb print or other finger print recorded on his identity paper with that of the applicant;

  5. [Repealed by Act 22/1997];

  6. examine his notice of appointment (if any) to vote as a proxy on behalf of another elector and compare the particulars in the notice with those recorded in the copy of the list of proxies;

  7. make such further comparisons as are reasonably necessary between the particulars recorded on his identify paper and those of the applicant;

  8. require the applicant to take an oath of identify in Form pursuant to section 78(3).

(3) An applicant shall -

  1. comply with any requirement of the presiding officer made pursuant to subsection (2)(h);

  2. comply with such requirements of the presiding officer for the examination of his fingers, the taking and recording of his thumb or finger print, of his signature and of his height as are reasonably necessary for the purposes of subsection (1);

  3. answer such questions as the presiding officer may ask as are reasonably necessary to ask for the aforesaid purposes.

(4) References in subsection (2) to the identity of any applicant shall be construed to include references to his registration card if available pursuant to any direction given under section 40(1)(i).

Issue of ballot paper to elector

Section 80 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) The presiding officer shall refuse to issue a ballot paper to any applicant therefore who does not hand to him his identity paper and other documents as directed under section 78(5) and he shall refuse to issue a ballot paper to any applicant if he is not satisfied as required by section 79(1); but if such identity paper and other documents are handed to him and he is so satisfied he shall –

  1. deliver to the elector a ballot paper stamped with the official mark;

  2. enter on the counterfoil of the ballot paper the serial number of the elector on the official list of electors;

  3. add to his copy of the official list of electors or part thereof the name of an elector who has produced to him a certificate of employment;

  4. place a mark on his copy of the official list of electors, or part thereof, to show that a ballot paper has been delivered to the elector but without showing the particular ballot paper issued;

  5. return to the elector his identity paper, and also if he has been appointed to vote as proxy on behalf of another elector the identity paper of that elector unless any such identity paper has been provided at the polling place in pursuance of section 43.”

(2) If the elector has been appointed to vote as a proxy on behalf of another elector the presiding officer shall -

  1. deliver to him, in addition to his own ballot paper, a ballot paper for each elector on whose behalf he has been appointed to vote as a proxy and shall enter on the counterfoil of such ballot paper the number on the official list of electors of the elector on behalf of whom he has been appointed and place a mark as prescribed by subsection (1)(d) on his copy of the official list of electors, or part thereof, to show that a ballot paper has been issued on behalf of each such elector;

  2. retain the notice of appointment to vote as proxy of the elector.

Mode of voting

Section 81 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) The presiding officer shall by demonstration by the use of a specimen ballot paper ensure that the elector understands how and where to place his mark (without indicating that the elector should vote for any particular list of candidates) and how to fold the ballot paper and shall direct him to return with it when marked, folded as shown.

(2) The elector shall enter one of the polling compartments and there record his vote by secretly marking his ballot paper within the space opposite the name and symbol of the list of candidates for whom he wishes to vote and shall then fold his ballot paper so as to conceal the vote; and if he has been appointed to vote as a proxy he shall record the vote of the elector on whose behalf he had been so appointed, for the list of candidates for whom that elector wishes to vote by secretly marking, in the manner aforesaid, the ballot paper issued to him for that elector and shall then similarly fold that ballot paper.

(3) The elector shall, having recorded his vote (and if such be the case that of an elector for whom he has been appointed a proxy), show the folded ballot paper (or papers) to the presiding officer so as to disclose the official mark appearing on the reverse thereof and shall place it (or them) so folded in the ballot box in the presence of the presiding officer:

Provided that the presiding officer shall not permit any elector whether voting on his own behalf or as a proxy on behalf of another elector to put a ballot paper in the ballot box unless, immediately before he does so, one of is fingers has been stained by immersion in a container of electoral ink.

(4) Notwithstanding the proviso to subsection (3), where the presiding officer is satisfied that an elector is suffering from an injury to any finger of such a nature as to render it undesirable for that finger to be stained with electoral ink, he shall not require that finger to be stained but shall stain another finger.

(5) If an electoral fails or refuses to comply with a lawful requirement of the presiding officer for the staining of one of his fingers, the presiding officer shall order him to return to him any ballot paper issued to him and to leave the polling place forthwith; and the presiding officer shall destroy any ballot paper so returned and make an entry in the poll book as to the facts of such failure or refusal.

(6) An elector who refuses or fails to return a ballot paper when so ordered under subsection (5) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of thirty-two thousand five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for six months.

(7) An elector who has inadvertently dealt with a ballot paper in such a manner that it cannot conveniently be used as a valid ballot paper may, on delivering such ballot paper to the presiding officer and after satisfying him that it has been spoiled by inadvertence, obtain another ballot paper in its place and the spoiled ballot paper and its counterfoil shall be marked as cancelled.

(8) An elector shall not show the marks which he has placed on his ballot paper to any person and if he does so the ballot paper shall be treated as a spoiled ballot paper:

Provided that this subsection shall not apply if an elector shows a ballot paper to a presiding office solely for the purpose of ascertaining if he has carried out his duties correctly.

(9) An elector shall vote without delay and shall leave the polling place as soon as he has put his ballot paper and that of any person on whose behalf he has voted as a proxy in the ballot box.

(10) Whenever in the opinion of the presiding officer an elector does not understand the language spoken to him he may appoint and swear, in Form 20, an interpreter; and the interpreter, so sworn, shall be the means of communication between the presiding officer and the elector with regard to all matters required to enable the elector to vote.

Blind and incapacitated electors

Section 82 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) The presiding officer shall, on the application of any elector who is incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause from voting in the manner prescribed by section 81 and who takes an oath in Form 21, mark the ballot paper of such elector in his presence and in the manner directed by him.

(2) The presiding officer may, at the request of any elector incapacitated in the manner prescribed in subsection (1) and who has taken the oath in Form 21 and is accompanied by a friend who has taken the oath in Form 22, permit such friend, if he is an elector entitled to vote at the polling place, immediately after he has voted on his own behalf, and notwithstanding that his finger has been immersed in electoral ink, to accompany the elector into the voting compartment and mark his ballot paper for him:

Provided that no person may mark the ballot paper of more than one elector as his friend under this subsection or mark such ballot paper unless he first takes an oath in the form prescribed.

(3) Whenever the ballot paper of an elector has been marked in accordance with this section, the poll clerk shall enter in the poll book opposite the name of the elector the fact that the ballot paper wa so marked, the reason therefore and, if marked by a friend, the name and the number in the official list of electors of that friend.

Tendered ballot papers

Section 83 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) If an applicant to vote represents himself to be an elector whose name appears on the official list of electors or part thereof for a polling place and there has already been placed a mark against the name of such elector on the presiding officer’s copy of such list or part thereof, the presiding officer shall issue to such applicant a tendered ballot paper it –

  1. the applicant hands to him his identity paper;

  2. the applicant takes an oath of identity in the form prescribed; and

  3. the presiding officer is satisfied as to the matters set out in section 79(1).

(2) A tendered ballot paper shall not be put in the ballot box but shall be given to the presiding officer and endorsed by him with the name of the elector and his number in the official list of electors; and the tendered ballot paper shall be set aside in a separate packet and shall not be counted by the turning officer.

(3) The poll clerk shall enter in the poll book the name of every elector to whom a tendered ballot paper is given and a note of his having marked such a ballot paper.

Voter identification

Section 84 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

The presiding officer shall, in the event of his needing to be satisfied of the identity of any elector whose name is on the official list of electors accepted in lieu of the prescribed identity paper such other identification as is authorized by the Commission and entailing the same stringency for its generation as to leave no doubt as to its authenticity as in the case of the identity paper and permit an elector to vote in the same manner as if his identity paper had been produced.”

Entries in poll book

Section 85 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

The poll clerks hall -

  1. make in the poll book such entries as are required by this Act or directed by the presiding officer;

  2. enter in the poll book the word “SWORN” opposite the name of each elector to whom any oath is administered and “REFUSED TO BE SWORN” or ‘REFUSED TO ANSWER” opposite the name of each elector who has refused to take an oath or who has refused to answer any question when legally so required.

Maintenance of secrecy at polling place

Section 86 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Every person specified in section 89(1)(b) attending the polling place shall maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of the voting and shall not, except for a purpose authorized by law, communicate to any person before the poll is closed any information at to –

  1. the name of any elector who has or has not applied for a ballot paper or voted whether on his own behalf of as a proxy on behalf of another elector;

  2. the number in the official list of electors of any elector who, or whose proxy on his behalf, has or has not applied for a ballot paper or voted;

  3. the official mark.

(2) No person shall –

  1. except in the performance of his duty under this Act interfere with or attempt to interfere with an elector when casting his vote or, as a proxy, that of another elector;

  2. obtain or attempt to obtain in a polling place information as to the list of candidates for whom an elector in that polling place is about to vote or has voted either on his own behalf or as a proxy on behalf of another elector;

  3. communicate at any time to any person any information obtained in a polling place as to the list of candidates for whom an elector in that polling place is about to vote or has voted either on his own behalf or as a proxy on behalf of another elector;

  4. directly or indirectly induce an elector to display his ballot paper or that of another elector for whom he has voted as a proxy after he has marked it, so as to make known the list of candidates for whom he has or has not voted either on his own behalf or on behalf of an elector for whom he has voted as a proxy.

(3) No person having undertaken to assist an elector incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause to vote shall communicate at any time to any person any information as to the list of candidates for whom that elector intends to vote or has voted.

(4) Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of sixty-five thousand dollars and to imprisonment for six months.

Molestation of electors

Section 87 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) No person shall anywhere within a distance of two hundred yards of a polling place annoy, molest or otherwise interfere with an elector or attempt to obtain any information as to the list of candidates for whom any elector in the polling place is about to vote or has voted either on his own behalf or as a proxy on behalf of another elector.

(2) Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of sixty-five thousand dollars and to imprisonment for six months.

Obstruction

Section 88 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Any person who, without due authority, obstructs, or otherwise interferes with –

  1. access to, or egress from, a polling place;

  2. the voting at an election by any person registered as an elector;

  3. the conveyance of documents, supplies and other material pertaining to an election, including ballot boxes and ballot papers;

  4. the counting of the votes case at an election; or

  5. an election officer in the exercise of any function conferred upon him by this Act.

shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of sixty-five thousand dollars together with imprisonment for a term of one year and shall, in addition, be incapable during a period of five years from the date of conviction –

  1. of being registered as an elector; and

(ii) of being elected as a member of the National Assembly.

(2) Section 140(2), as the same applies in relation to a person convicted of an illegal practice , applies mutates mutandis in relation to a person convicted of an offence under this section.

Preservation of order

Section 89 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) The presiding officer may, for the purpose of maintaining order at the polling place –

  1. regulate the admission of electors and may, if he deems it advisable, direct that not more than one elector for each compartment shall at the same time enter the room where the poll is held;

  2. exclude all other persons except –

(i) members of the Commission;

(ii) election officers;

(iii) duly appointed candidates

(iv) polling agents for the polling place;

(v) members of the Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force and the bodies known as the Guyana National Service and the Guyana People’s Militia;

(vi) election agents;

(vii) assistant agents for the district in which the polling place is situate;

  1. issue such directions as may be necessary for such purpose.

(2) If any person (whether entitled to enter or not) misconducts himself at a polling place or fails to obey any lawful direction, requirement or order of the presiding officer, whether given or made under this or any other section, he may immediately, by order of the presiding officer, be removed therefrom by a member of the Police Force or by any other person authorized in writing by the presiding officer to remove him, and the person so removed shall not, without the permission of the presiding officer, again enter the polling place on election day:

Provided that the powers conferred by this subsection shall not be so exercised as to prevent an elector entitled to vote at a polling place having an opportunity to vote thereat.

(3) Any person removed from a polling place under subsection (2) may, if charged with the commission of an offence at or anywhere within a distance o two hundred yards of the poling place, be dealt with as a person taken into custody by a police officer for an offence without warrant.

Closing of spirit shops

Section 90 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:

(1) All premises to which spirit shop licences, and railway station or stelling licences have been issued under the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act shall be closed and kept closed on election day.

(2) No intoxicating liquor shall be sold, offered for sale, or given away at any premises to which a licence issued under the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act applies, at any time between the opening of and the closing of the poll on election day.

(3) No intoxicating liquor shall be supplied to any person at any premises to w which a licence issued under the registration of Clubs Act applies at any time between the opening of and the closing of the poll on election day.

(4) Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of sixty-five thousand dollars and to imprisonment for six months.

Employers to allow employees period for voting

Section 91 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Every employer shall permit every elector in his employ, other than any elector on whose behalf another elector has been appointed to vote as a proxy, to be absent from his work on election day for a reasonable time, in addition to the normal midday meal hour, for the purpose of voting at the election; and no employer shall make any deduction from pay or other remuneration of any such elector or impose on him or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during such period.

(2) Employees of the Transport and Harbours Department shall be deemed to be employees for the purposes of this section except such as are actually engaged in running trains and vessels and to whom time cannot be allowed without interfering with the running of the trains and vessels; and the General Manager of the Transport and Harbours Department shall be deemed to be the employer of such employees.

Penalty for breach of section 91.

Section 92 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

Any employer who, directly or indirectly, refuses or who by intimidation, undue influence or in any other way interferes with the granting to any elector in his employ of the period for voting prescribed by section 91, shall on summary conviction be liable to a fine of thirty-two thousand five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for six months.

Procedure on closing of poll

Section 93 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) The presiding officer, as soon as practicable after the closing of the poll, in the presence of such of the persons entitled under section 89(1)(b) to be present, at attend shall –

  1. count the number of spoiled ballot papers and tendered ballot papers, if any, and place them in separate special envelopes supplied for that purpose, indicate thereon the number of the spoiled ballot papers and tendered ballot papers and seal the envelopes;

  2. count the used tendered ballot papers without unfolding them and place them back in the special envelope supplied for that purpose, indicate thereon the number of the used tendered ballot papers and seal the envelope;

  3. count the unused ballot papers and tendered ballot papers, undetached from the books of ballot papers and tendered ballot papers, place them with the counterfoils of all used ballot papers and tendered ballot papers in separate special envelopes supplied for that purpose, indicate thereon the number of unused ballot papers and tendered ballot papers and seal the envelopes;

  4. check the number of ballot papers and tendered ballot papers supplied by the returning officer against the number of spoiled ballot papers and tendered ballot papers, if any, the number of unused ballot papers and tendered ballot papers and the number of destroyed ballot papers and tendered ballot papers, as recorded in the poll book, and the number of electors who voted at the polling place as reflected from the counterfoils of the ballot papers and tendered ballot papers issued at the poling place, in order to ascertain that all ballot papers are accounted for;

  5. record the number of ballot papers and tendered ballot papers received by the presiding officer, issued to electors, unused, and spoiled, in the ballot paper account and tendered ballot paper account in Form 23;

  6. open the ballot box and empty its contents upon a table;

  7. distribute tally sheets to the assistant presiding officer, the poll clerk and the duly appointed candidates and polling agents present;

  8. count and record the number of ballot papers that were in the ballot box;

  9. sort out the ballot papers on the basis of lists for which the votes have been cast; and

  10. count the number of votes recorded for each list of candidates on his tally sheet, giving full opportunity for those present to examine each ballot paper.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this section, section 98 shall mutates mutandis apply to the counting of votes under subsection (1).

(3) in counting the votes the presiding officer shall, wherever his decision on a ballot paper is questioned, record the fact by writing the letter “Q” at the back of the ballot paper and appending his initials.

(4) The decision of the presiding officer as to the validity or otherwise of a ballot paper shall be final subject to review by the returning officer.

(5) The presiding officer shall place the ballot papers cast for each list of candidates and counter under this section in a separate envelope, whether or not any such ballot paper is a questioned ballot paper.

(6) All rejected ballot papers shall be placed in a separate envelope by the presiding officer.

(7) The envelopes referred to in subsections (5) and (6) shall be endorsed as to indicate their contents and shall be sealed by the presiding officer and the number of any questioned ballot papers and the total number of ballot papers contained in the envelopes shall be indicated on their outside.

(8) The presiding office shall affix his seal to the envelopes referred to in the preceding subsections and shall invite such of the duly appointed candidates and the polling agents as are present to do likewise.

(9) After the completion of the counting, the presiding officer shall complete the ballot paper account and tendered ballot paper account in Form 23, the Statement of Poll in Form 23A, and prepare and certify a sufficient number of copies of the same for distribution as follows -

  1. to the returning officer;

  2. to the assistant presiding officer;

  3. to such of the duly appointed candidates or the polling agents as are present;

  4. to the Chief Election Officer.

(9)A. The statement of poll prepared in accordance with subsection (9) shall be posted in a conspicuous place outside the polling place as conclusive evidence of the result of the election for that polling place unless there is a recount of the votes.”

  1. The presiding officer shall then –

    1. place the sealed envelope containing the counted and rejected ballot papers in the ballot box, and secure and seal, with his seal and with the seals of such of the duly appointed candidates and polling agents as desire to affix their seals, the ballot box in such manner that it cannot be opened and that nothing can be inserted therein or taken therefrom without breaking the seals; and

    2. make up in separate packets, the marked copies of the official list of electors or part thereof, notices of appointments to vote as proxy and copies of the lists of proxies, the poll book, the ballot paper account and tendered ballot paper account and such other election documents as may be decided upon by the Commission and seal the packets with his seal and with the seals of such of the duly appointed candidates and polling agents as are present and desire to affix their seals; and

    3. deliver the sealed ballot box, the sealed packets referred to in paragraph (b), and together with an envelope containing the key of the ballot box and a Statement of Poll in Form 23A placed in one envelope sealed in the manner referred to in paragraph (b), to the returning officer of the district in which the polling place is situated.

(11)A. A presiding officer may in writing delegate all or any of his functions under this section to a counting assistant and where any function of a presiding officer is delegated to accounting assistant, in respect of the function so delegated references in the preceding subsections to the presiding officer of a polling place shall be deemed to be references to the counting assistant of the same polling place.

Accompanying ballot boxes

Section 94 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Subject to the availability of space in the conveyance carrying ballot boxes from polling places for delivery to a returning officer, the polling agents or he duly appointed candidates for the polling places, who are desirous of accompanying the ballot boxes, may travel in such conveyance:

Provided that where the conveyance carrying the ballot boxes can accommodate only or some of the polling agents or duly appointed candidates for a polling place, desirous of accompanying the ballot boxes from that polling place, the polling agent or agents or duly appointed candidate or candidates who shall accompany the ballot boxes shall be determined by the majority of the polling agents and duly appointed candidates for the polling place.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to affect the right of any polling agent or duly appointed candidate for a polling place to follow, in a separate conveyance, a conveyance carrying ballot boxes from the polling place for delivery to a returning officer.

Counting of votes

Section 95 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) As soon as practicable after the receipt of all the ballot boxes and the envelopes and packets delivered to him in pursuance of section 93(10) the Returning Office shall, in the presence of such of the persons entitled under section 97(1) to be present as attended, ascertain the total votes cast in favour of each list in the district by adding up the votes recorded in favour of the list in accordance with the Statements of Poll, and thereupon publicly declare the votes recorded for each list of candidates.

(2) Where before twelve noon of the day following the declaration under subsection (1) any counting agent for he district does not request the Returning Officer to conduct a final count of the votes counted by the presiding officers in the district under section 93, the declaration of the votes obtained by the lists under subsection (1) shall be final; but where any counting agent for the district seeks a final count of the votes already counted by the presiding officers in the district under section 93, the Returning Officer shall count such votes in accordance with the provisions contained in the following subsections and section 98 and on the basis of such recount confirm or vary the declaration of the votes recorded in the district for each list of candidates under subsection (1).

(3) Where any counting agent for the district requests a final count, he shall indicate whether he requests a general count or a limited count, and in the latter case shall specify the polling places in respect of which the final count is to be conducted and the Returning Officer shall conduct the count as requested.

(4) Where a limited final count is conducted, the Returning Officer shall review only the decisions of the presiding officers as regards questioned and rejected ballot papers at the polling places specified in the request for the final count, and in such a case all ballot papers marked “Q” by the presiding officers of those polling places and all ballot papers rejected by them shall be examined by the Returning Officer.

(5) Where in a limited final count the Returning Officer agrees with the decision of a presiding officer as regards any questioned or rejected ballot paper, he shall write the word “confirmed” at the back of the ballot paper, and where he disagrees with the decision of the presiding officer as regards any such ballot paper, he shall write the word “varied” at the back of the ballot paper.

(6) where a general final count is conducted, the Returning Officer shall review all used ballot papers, including rejected ballot papers, received from all polling places, and where he agrees with the decision of a presiding officer as regards any questioned or rejected ballot paper, he shall write the word “confirmed” at the back of the ballot paper and where he disagrees with the decision of any presiding officer as regards any such ballot paper, he shall write the word “varied” at the back of the ballot paper.

(7) Where a duly appointed candidate or any counting agent for the district disagrees with the Returning Officer as regards any ballot paper, the Returning Officer shall write the Letter “Q” on the back of the ballot paper.

(8) All ballot papers marked in any way by the Returning Officer in a final count shall be marked with his initials.

(9) All markings on a ballot paper by the Returning Officer shall be made on the back of the ballot paper in ink different in colour from that used by the presiding officer.

(10) At the conclusion of any final count, the Returning Officer shall comply with section 100 in respect of the polling places to which the final count related.

(11) On ascertaining the votes cast in the district for each list of candidates in accordance with the preceding subsections, the returning officer shall communicate to the Chief Election Officer, by the quickest available means, the total number of valid votes cast in the district for each list of candidates.

Candidates appointed to attend count.

Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) The election agent of each group of candidates may appoint one of the candidates, hereinafter in this Part referred to as the “duly appointed candidate” to attend at the counting of the votes in a district.

(2) Notice in writing of appointments made under subsection (1), stating the names and addresses of the candidates appointed shall be signed by the election agent and delivered to the returning officer of the district not later than the 7th day before election day.

(3) There shall not be more than one duly appointed candidate of the same list of candidates for any one district.

Attendance at count

Section 97 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) No person shall be present at the counting of the votes except –

  1. the returning officer and such other election officers as he may appoint to assist him in the counting;

  2. member of the Commission;

  3. duly appointed candidates;

  4. counting agents;

  5. such other persons as, in the opinion of the returning officer, have good reason to be present.

(2) The returning officer shall give the counting agents all such reasonable facilities for overseeing the proceedings and all such information with respect thereto as he can give them consistent with the orderly conduct of the proceedings and with the discharge of his duties in connection therewith.

Method of counting

Section 98 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Where a returning officer is required to have a final count of the votes cast for all, or some, of the polling place, he shall in the presence of such of the persons entitled under section 97(1) to be present as attended –

  1. open each ballot box;

  2. take out the ballot papers;

  3. count and record the number of ballot papers taken from each ballot box;

  4. count the votes recorded for each list of candidates.

(2) In counting the votes the returning officer shall, subject to subsection (3), reject as invalid and not count any ballot paper -

  1. which does not bear the official mark;

  2. which has not been marked for any list of candidates or is void for uncertainty;

  3. on which votes have been given for more than one list of candidates;

  4. on which there is any writing or mark by which the elector can be identified.

(3) A ballot paper on which the vote is marked -

  1. elsewhere then in the proper place;

  2. otherwise than by means of a cross;

  3. by more than on mark;

shall not be rejected solely by reason thereof if –

(i) an intention that the vote shall be for one or other of the lists of candidates clearly appears; and

(ii) the elector is neither identified nor can be identified by the manner in which the ballot paper is marked.

(4) The returning officer shall endorse the word “rejected” on any ballot paper which he may reject as invalid and shall add to the endorsement the words “rejection objected to” if any objection to his decision be made by a duly appointed candidate or a counting agent present during the counting.

(5) The decision of the returning officer as to any question arising in respect of any ballot paper shall be final.

Recounts

Section 99 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

A duly appointed candidate, or counting agent present when the counting or any recount of votes is completed, may request the returning officer to have the votes recounted or again recounted; but the returning officer may refuse such request if in his opinion it is unreasonable.

Procedure on conclusion of count

Section 100 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) upon the conclusion of the final counting, under section 95, of the votes the returning officer, in the presence of such of the persons entitled under section 97(1) to be present as attend, shall –

  1. seal in separate packets the counted and rejected ballot papers;

  2. verify the ballot papers account given by each presiding officer by comparing it with –

(i) the number of ballot papers recorded under section 98(1)(c);

(ii) the unused and spoiled ballot papers in his possession; and

(iii) the record of tendered votes contained in the poll book;

  1. reseal the packets of unused and spoiled ballot papers;

  2. prepare a written statement as to the result of the verification of the ballot papers account and on request allow any counting agent present to make a copy thereof;

  3. publicly declare the result of the final counting;

  4. deliver to the Chief Election Officer a return in writing in respect of the final counting in Form 24 which shall set out the number of -

(i) valid votes cast for each list of candidates as aforesaid;

(ii) rejected ballot papers together with, in each case, the reason for rejection;

(iii) spoiled ballot papers delivered to him;

(iv) tendered ballot papers;

(v) persons who appear to have voted.

(2) The returning officer shall not open the sealed packets containing tendered ballot papers, marked copies of the official list of electors or part thereof or counterfoils of used ballot papers.

(3) Any counting agent may copy the return made under subsection (1)(f).

Maintenance of secrecy of the count

Section 101 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

Every person attending at the counting of votes shall maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of voting and shall not communicate any information obtained at the count as to the list of candidates for which any vote has been given.

 

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