GECOM announces start of Claims and Objections next month

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

With General and Regional Elections over a year away, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has announced the start of Claims and Objections next month, which will contribute to the forming of an Official List of Electors (OLE).

According to GECOM in its latest notice, Claims and Objections will last from January 2 to 29, 2024. The exercises are aimed at forming a Preliminary List of Electors (PLE), thence an OLE. Accordingly, the PLEs have been posted at prominent locations across the country.

GECOM explained that persons who will be 18 years and older by December 31, 2023 and are Guyanese citizens by birth, descent or naturalisation or “is a citizen from a Commonwealth country living in Guyana for one year or more,” meet the criteria to be included in the OLE and eventually vote in the expected 2025 elections.

When it comes to claims, persons can make a claim to be included in the OLE if their name is not on the list, or can apply for a transfer from an address they no longer live at. Additionally, they can apply for a change of name or for a correction, if incorrect information is on the PLE.

GECOM made it clear in their notice that the claims aspect of the Claims and Objections exercise will end on January 15, 2024. Meanwhile, the objections aspect will end on January 22, 2024.

“If you have changed your address since you were registered, you are required to visit the registration office responsible for your new area of residence to apply for transfer, that is to get your address changed in the list.”

“Your failure to apply for transfers will result in you having to go back to the area where you previously lived to vote at any future election. Avoid any such inconvenience by applying for a transfer,” GECOM explained.

During last year’s Claims and Objections period, which captured persons who would have been eligible to vote by October 31, 2022, GECOM had recorded more than 3000 new applicants, as well as a total of 18 objections to names on the PLE.

The claims aspect of the exercise came to an end on September 21, 2023, while objections ended on September 25. GCEOM Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward had said that the exercise ran with little to no hiccups and extensions had allowed for maximum participation of the population.

At the time the Claims and Objections exercise had been extended, GECOM had explained that the decision to do so by a week was for persons to have further opportunities to make changes to the voters’ list. Further, they had explained who could make objections.

“Further, objections against the inclusion of names in the PLE can be tendered to the Registration Officer of the Registration Area. Objection(s) can be submitted by an Elector who is listed in the same Division list/Sub Division list in which the person being objected to is listed,” GECOM had explained.

“Objections can also be made by approved Scrutineers of political parties, provided that any such Scrutineer has monitoring responsibilities for the Division/Sub Division in which the person being objected to is listed,” the elections body had further said, explaining that original documents must be presented at the hearing, to support the objection being made.