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3.2. Operations and Preparation of the List of Electors.

The List of Electors is produced in different stages for which a methodology or system is devised and documented. The National Registration Act Cap 19:08 of 1967 deals with the method of revision of the List of Electors. The main objective of the preparation of the list of electors is to produce an acceptable Official List of Electors that contains the names of all eligible persons (i.e. persons who would attain the age of eighteen (18) years by a stipulated date) who can vote in an election. Such list/s have to withstand public scrutiny in terms of the details of all electors being listed without duplication. An acceptable List of Electors forms the basis for the staging of elections.

3.2.2. Management of the Database
The Information Systems Department (ISD) of GECOM is directly responsible for management of the existing database. The ISD's mission is to develop and maintain an accurate List of Electors, to produce National Identification Cards and to provide information support to the secretariat.

3.2.3. Database Integrity Tests.
The task of performing complete Data Integrity Tests are specifically assigned to a committee set up by the Commission. The committee’s aim is to establish the authenticity of the database. For the 2001 General and Regional Elections the Commission appointed a six-member committee which was known as the Database Integrity Test Committee (DITC). It consisted of members of GECOM, the Private Sector and the Donor Community.

3.2.4. National Register of Registrants.
The National Register of Registrants (NRR) is the register of persons eighteen (18) years and over whose particulars, which are acquired during registration exercises, are represented on the Master Registration Data Base (MRDB). This register is required to be in a secure, distributable format for all stakeholders to peruse in the run-up to an election. The process begins with the periodic enumeration of electors and the preparation of a Preliminary Voters List, followed by a period of claims and objections to persons named on the list prior to an election. Any consequent changes to the Preliminary Voters List are incorporated into a Revised Voters List, which is open to the scrutiny of the public for a period of twenty one (21) days. Once amended, the Official List of Electors is produced by GECOM.

3.2.5. Production and Publication of the Preliminary Voters' List.
The Preliminary Voters List (PVL) is produced from the MRDB. In the case of the 2001 General and Regional Elections the PVL was produced in 2000 through the use of a powerful stand alone PC. Custom designed queries were run against the MRDB to extract snapshots of all persons 18 years and older at the qualifying date who were not flagged as dead or duplicated. The PVL was produced using two formats - an address order list and the statutory divisional alphabetical order list. The address order list was produced to assist in the work of statutory registration activities that were area specific. Each list was divided into two separate sections - photographed and non-photographed according to the status of the registrants on the MRDB.

Claims and Objections.
Claims and Objections are conducted pursuant to Order No. 5 of 2000 and in accordance with Section 6 (1) of the National Registration Act Cap. 19:08. This exercise, which is managed by the respective Registrars of each of the ten Electoral Districts, is conducted at Registration Offices specifically established for such purposes in the ten Electoral Districts. Additionally mobile units are established to serve hinterland and riverain communities.

3.2.7. Production and Publication of the Revised Voters' List.
The production of the Revised Voters' List (RVL) involves the inclusion of new electors and the extraction of electors from the Preliminary Voters' List. It is compulsory for each elector to have his/her photograph taken before his/her particulars are placed on the RVL. Electors have to be eighteen years and over by a date specified by GECOM in order to vote at an upcoming election. Select queries are run against the Master Registration Data Base to extract records that conform to the established criteria. Subject to certification by the Chief Elections Officer, the list is published in the same format as the PVL. With respect to the 2001 elections, the Information Systems Department of GECOM produced copies of the RVL using a special application called Encrypted Stakeholder Application (ESHA) and distributed them to political parties for appropriate use with provision granted for any omission or correction to be done within twenty one (21) days of publication of the list.

3.2.8. Corrections to the Revised Voters' List.
During the 21 day period persons have to make corrections to the PVL individual electors whose particulars were omitted or had to be corrected, should visit the offices of the Returning Officers/Deputy Returning Officers and make claims to have corrective action taken. In order to process data accumulated through this process and submitted by the Returning Officers for corrections to the RVL, the following guidelines were given on how to treat with the submissions.

All cases of corrections/omissions brought to the attention of the Returning Officer must be verified. All omissions and corrections that have been verified must be recorded using the specified format and forwarded to the Chief Elections Officer. Submissions must be photocopied and originals delivered to the ISD while the photocopy is retained by the Chief Elections Officer. Information to be encoded must be checked first before encoding commences. The Returning Officers or their representatives must be present at the ISD to provide assistance/answer queries. Only verified information must be encoded. All omissions/corrections must be checked by the respective Returning Officers or their representatives. Draft lists of amendments for Districts must be produced for editing by the Returning Officers or their representatives before the Official List of Electors (OLE) is printed.

3.2.9. Production and Publication of the Official List of Electors.
The Official List of Electors (OLE) contains the names of all registered voters in alphabetical order according to surname. An elector's name must appear on the OLE in order for him/her to vote.

For the 2001 General and Regional elections, the OLE was published and distributed to all political parties. An application to aid verification of placement of electors on the OLE by the political parties was developed by the ISD. This resulted in the following concerns being raised:

#1. Particulars of electors on the RVL were:

(a) Dislocated.

(b) Omitted.

#2. Claims of omissions/corrections were not effected.

These concerns were raised by individuals, field staff of GECOM and stakeholders who participated in the exercise to correct the RVL. Amid these concerns preparation of an addendum to the OLE commenced.

3.2.10. Corrections to the Official List of Electors.
The data required to correct the deficiencies observed in the OLE (2001 elections) were contained in memoranda submitted by the respective Returning Officers. It was decided that the same procedures used to correct the RVL would be utilized to make corrections to the OLE. In this regard, special emphasis was placed on claims made by individual electors and stakeholders in addition to submissions made by Returning Officers and their representatives. This exercise resulted in an addendum of names to be deleted from the OLE as well as names to be added to it. Corrections and data entry verification to the OLE were conducted by ISD and the Returning Officers or their representatives.

3.2.11. Production and Publication of the Addendum to the Official List of Electors.
The addendum was printed in two parts - additions (persons added to the list) and Deletions (persons deleted from the list). The latter was particularly necessary for registrants who needed changes to their details. This entailed the administrative striking off (Deletion) of the old record and installation of the new record (Addition).

3.2.12. Preparation of the Disciplined Forces' Lists.
The Disciplined Forces' Lists were extracted from the OLE and consisted of members of the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Prison Service. All of the Disciplined Forces submitted lists of electors who were enlisted and still serving in the respective services. Those lists generally contained the surname, first name, middle name, address, occupation and code for each elector in this category. The ISD used the surname/first name and MRC code to extract the particulars of these electors from the OLE. These electors were assigned ballot places based on submissions made by their respective Officers in consultation with the assigned Representative from the respective Forces. The lists were then compiled and grouped by ballot place in alphabetical order.

3.2.13. Preparation of the Non-Resident Electors' Roll.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs supplied to GECOM, a list of the Missions and detailed particulars on members attached to Overseas Missions. These details were examined by GECOM against the Central Register in order to identify qualified electors for the respective Missions. The process of extracting electors of this category from the OLE involved the use of an application which required the Data Entry Operator to input the surname or first name of the elector along with the relevant MRC code. When a match was made, the Operator selected the country where the elector resided and worked. This methodology allowed for the production of the Non-Resident Electors' Roll.

3.2.14. Preparation of the List of Proxies.
A person votes by proxy where he/she is unable to vote him/herself on the election day. Another person or elector who is eligible to vote is allowed to vote on their behalf.

Section 30 of the Representation of the People Act, Cap. 1:03 provides for the following electors to be entitled to vote by proxy at an election:-

a. Those unable, or likely to be unable to go in person to the polling place at which they are entitled to vote for any of the following reasons -

(i) the person is employed on election day either as a member of a disciplined force, or as a rural constable, or as a person connected with the election as certified by a Returning Officer;

(ii) the person is acting as Returning Officer on the election day for a District other than the District in which his address is entered;

(iii) the person is employed on the election day by the Returning Officer for a District, other than the District in which his address is entered in the OLE;

(iv) the person is an employee of the Transport and Harbours Department engaged in running a vessel on the election day.

b. A candidate at the election where he/she is unable, or likely to be unable to go in person to the polling place at which he/she in entitled to vote, by reason of being engaged in any activity connected with the election in a District other than the District in which he/she is to vote.

c. Those unable, or likely to be unable, by reason of blindness or any other physical incapacity, to go in person to the polling place, or if able to go, to vote unaided.

The application for appointment of an elector to vote as proxy must be sent to the Returning Officer not later than the 10 days before the Election Day. The Returning Officer must be satisfied that the other person or elector is entitled to be appointed as proxy. If the Returning Officer is satisfied will issue a notice of appointment to the person or elector so that they can vote on behalf of the other person. If the application is refused, the Returning Officer shall notify the applicant.

Returning Officers are authorised to keep a list of proxies and to allow an election agent on a request on the 4th day before the election day, to inspect and copy the list. Returning Officers must provide to each Presiding Officer, a copy of the respective list of persons who were appointed to vote as proxy.

 

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