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Introduction

The Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) was enacted to make provision for the election of members of the National Assembly under a system of proportional representation and for purposes connected therewith.

Interpretation.
Section 2 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states

(1) In this Act –

“carriage” includes a mechanically propelled vehicle;

“certificate of employment” means a ce`zrtificate issued under section 29(4);

“Commission” means the Elections Commission established by article 161 of the Constitution;

“disciplined force” has the same meaning as in article 154 of the Constitution;

“district” means a polling district constituted under section 6(1);

“division” means a polling division as defined by section 6(2);

“election” means an election in accordance with article 60(2);

“election” means an election in accordance with article 60(2) of the Constitution of members to the National Assembly, and “elector” shall be construed accordingly;

“election day”, in relation to any election, means day appointed under article 61 of the Constitution for the holding of the election;

“election expenses declaration” means a declaration as to election expenses as required by section 120;

“election officer” means –

the Chief Election Officer;

(aa)the deputy Chief Election Officer;

(b) a returning officer;

a deputy returning officer;

an election clerk;

a presiding officer;

an assistant presiding officer;

a poll clerk.

“elector “, in Parts IV, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX, means an elector whose name is on the official list of electors;

“Form” means Form in the Schedule;

“group of candidates: means the candidates named in a list of candidates;

“Guyana National geographical constituencies” means one of the ten constituencies into which Guyana is divided under section 11 A;

“identity paper” means an identification card issued under the National Registration Act and includes a replacement identification card so issued:

Provided that the identity paper tendered to a presiding officer on the day of an election by an elector shall be the latest identity paper issued to him by the Commissioner under this Act as amended by the Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2000.

“member”, in relation to the disciplined force, has the same meaning as in article 154 of the Constitution.

“official list of electors” means the official list of electors for a polling division as prescribed by subsection (3);

“official mark” means such official mark as the Chief Election Officer shall approve for the purpose of stamping ballot papers;

“payment” includes any pecuniary or other reward;

“personal expenses”, in relation to the expenses of a candidate, includes his reasonable travelling expenses and the reasonable expenses of his living at hotels or elsewhere for the purposes of and in relation to the election;

“poll” means the poll, by voters whose names are on the official list of electors, for the purpose of any election;

“presiding officer” means –

a presiding officer of a polling place;

an assistant presiding officer;

“region” means any of the ten regions which may be established under article 71(1) of the Constitution;

“registration card” has the same meaning as in the National Registration Act;

“returning officer” means –

a returning officer of a polling district;

a deputy returning officer.

(2) In this Act the expression “committee room” does not include any house or room occupied by a candidate at an election as a dwelling, by reason solely of the candidate there transacting general business with his agents in relation to the election; nor shall any room or building be deemed to be a committee room for the purposes of this Act by reason only of the candidate or any agent of the group of candidates addressing therein electors, committee men, or others.

(3) The official list of electors for any division shall be the preliminary list of the electors resident in that division, prepared before election day in pursuance of section 14 of the National Registration Act or last prepared in pursuance thereof before such day, as the case may be, but with every such modification as may be necessary to bring that list into conformity with the divisional register –

as altered under section 15(6) of the National Registration Act to give effect to claims and objections finally determined before the said election day;

pursuant to any alteration thereto made under section 8 of the National Registration Act, prior to compliance with section 34(2)(a)(iv) in respect of the said official list, for the purpose of changing the registered address of any elector’s residence within Guyana or the registered name or occupation of any elector; or

pursuant to he cancellation of any elector’s registration therein effected in contravention of section 11(1) of the National Registration Act, or relating to an elector who is dead, under section 8 of the National Registration Act,

and every reference made to the official list of electors in the provisions hereinafter contained shall, in relation to any time on or before election day, be construed as a reference to such preliminary list as aforesaid with such modifications thereto (if any) as, at that tine, shall have been made in conformity with this subsection.

(4) In subsection (3) reference to a preliminary list is a reference to such list read in conjunction with any supplementary list prepared for a revision of that preliminary list pursuant to regulations made under the Act for the purpose of showing the aforementioned modifications.

 

Electoral system

Section 3 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) An election shall be conducted by secret ballot in conformity with this Act.

(2) Throughout Guyana, votes shall be cast in favour of lists of candidates published in accordance with section 19.

Other functions of Commission

Section 4 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states

The Commission shall have, in addition to the functions assigned to it by he Constitution, such functions as are assigned to it by this Act and, in the execution of this Act, such authority of the Commission as is exercised in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution shall be duly deferred to.

Extension of time

Section 5 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

Where under this Act any act is required to be done not later than a specified number of days before election day, the Elections Commission may by direction under its hand, if it deems it requisite or desirable so to do, extended the time allowed by reducing the number of days so specified; and the following provisions shall have effect in relation to that power -

the power may be exercised either generally or specifically;

the power may be exercised so as to make valid anything already done after the expiration of the time allowed;

the Commission shall, as soon as practicable after any exercise of the power, publish in the Gazette a notification thereof, which shall include a brief statement of the reasons for, and the effect of, that exercise.

Polling districts and divisions,

Section 6 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Guyana shall be divided into polling districts, each of which shall consist of such polling divisions, and be distinguished by such names, as may be specified by order of the Elections Commission:

Provide that no polling district shall extend across the boundary of any region.

(2) Subject to any orders made by the Elections Commission under subsection (1), every registration division as constituted under section 5(2) of the National Registration Act shall be a polling division for the purposes of this Act.

(3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), there shall be for each division such polling places as the returning officer of the district in which the division is situate, subject to the approval of the Chief Election Officer, may appoint; and each polling place shall bear such numerical or other designation as may be approved by the Chief Election Officer.

(4) Where the Chief Election Officer is satisfied that it is impracticable to appoint a polling place within a division or any part thereof, he may appoint some other place in another division within the same district as a polling place at which electors of the first-mentioned division or that thereof shall be entitled.

(5) The Chief Election Officer shall publish in the Gazette later than the 20th day before election day a notice of any polling place appointed under subsection (4).

Election officers and staff.

Section 3 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

There shall be -

a Chief Election Officer;

for each district a returning officer and an election clerk;

for each polling place a presiding officer, a poll clerk and a counting assistant;

such deputy returning officers, assistant presiding officers and other staff as may be necessary or desirable for the implementation of this Act.

Oaths.

Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act (Cap. 1:03) states:-

(1) Every election officer shall, before performing any of his functions under this Act, take and subscribe an oath in Form 1 before a Justice of the Peace or an election officer.

(2) Every Justice of the Peace and every election officer is authorized and empowered to administer any oath required by or under this Act;

Provided that no election officer shall administer an oath until he has himself taken the oath prescribed in pursuance of subsection (1).

(3) Forthwith upon taking the oath prescribed in pursuance of subsection (1), the returning officer of every district shall establish an office in his district and cause an advertisement to be inserted in a newspaper circulating in the district specifying the place at which he has established his office.

 

 

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