Fact check destroys APNU/AFC’s claims of electoral fraud
…coalition trying to trick GECOM into new delaying tactic – PPP
On Saturday and under immense pressure to prove their allegations of electoral fraud, A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) spokesman Joseph Harmon made a video broadcast in which he alleged widespread electoral fraud and accused the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) of not doing enough to address their allegations.
In fact, Harmon gave some specific examples of this alleged fraud. He claimed that 352 ballots were issued for ballot box 7079 (Region Seven, Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Phillipai Primary School), but 377 ballots were discovered in the ballot boxes.
This, however, is not true, as a fact check of the Statement of Recount (SoR) for ballot box 7079 shows that 227 votes were actually cast, of which 223 were valid votes. The SoR was completed and certified by all the parties, including an APNU/AFC counting agent, on May 28 – two days before Harmon’s comment.
According to the SoR, the four rejected ballots contained one that was unmarked or voided for uncertainty, one that was marked in a way that the elector could be identified and two whereby the elector voted for more than one party.
Meanwhile, another example Harmon gave on Saturday of alleged ‘fraud’, which upon checking turned out to be untrue, was that the wrong list was found in ballot box 7003 (Region Seven, Regina’s Shop). Harmon’s claim falls apart when one checks the observation report for that ballot box, which states that box 7002 was mixed up with box 7003 at the time of the recount and that “no other error was found with this box.” Again, this report was signed off by political parties that included APNU/AFC.
In a stinging response soon after Harmon’s comments, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) slammed the coalition for continuing to spin lies in an attempt to discredit the electoral process and delay the final declaration of results of the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
The party said that it merits repeating that the APNU/AFC coalition claimed victory on the basis of the results declared prior to the start of the National Recount, embracing the fraudulent Region Four declaration. “With the recount progressing and the fraud perpetrated in Region Four being exposed, the coalition has changed its tune, now claiming electoral fraud by the PPP/C. This ludicrous position underscores the desperation of the coalition, in the face of an electoral defeat. The PPP will continue to expose the lies being peddled by the APNU/AFC coalition and will continue its efforts to ensure that the ongoing National Recount is not derailed, but completed to allow for a democratic transition of Government.”
New delaying tactics
During his video broadcast, Harmon had railed against GECOM for not “positively” responding to their allegations. According to Harmon, they have written almost a dozen letters to GECOM urging that an investigation be launched before the votes in the other regions are announced.
The PPP made it clear that from all indications, APNU/AFC is trying to trick GECOM into following it down a path to delay the declaration of the final results, by having it investigate these allegations.
“The APNU/AFC coalition seems intent on baiting the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), with its fallacious claims, into illegally following it down a path that will, again, delay the declaration of election results by another few months.”
“Further, what [is] troubling is that Mr Harmon stated that the Police Commissioner, who is the Chief Immigration Officer, has confirmed that people who migrated voted at the March 2020 elections. This is so, especially in light of the fact that the PPP has found scores of people currently in Guyana, who were named by the coalition as having migrated,” the PPP also said.
On Friday, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall had urged that when the recount is completed, the results must be used to declare a winner. He had called it a “tragedy of gigantic proportions” if, after all the time and effort spent on the recount, the results were not used.
As it is, the declarations held in abeyance contain the fraudulent declarations from Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, which the recount has already exposed as not credible. Persons in APNU/AFC have nevertheless advocated for GECOM to use these discredited results.