EBC: UNC requests ‘have no legal bearing on the recount’ and ‘prolonging the process unnecessarily’

“[…] During the recount, there have been requests to inspect additional documents and requests for specimens of initials. These requests have no legal bearing on the recount.

“The raising of matters not properly to be considered at a recount, together with non-adherence to the times set by Returning Officers for the conduct of a recount, has had the effect of prolonging the process unnecessarily…”

The following is a press statement by Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) on General Election recount requests by the United National Congress (UNC) for the constituencies of La Horquetta/Talparo, San Fernando West, St Joseph, Toco/Sangre Grande and Tunapuna:

Photo: (From left) UNC candidate for Tunapuna David Nakhid, St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen and UNC leader and Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
(via UNC)

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) notes the public discourse on the recounts of votes which were requested in specific electoral districts. It advises that the process for a recount is clearly outlined in law and assures the public that the recounts are being conducted within the parameters of the law.

Election Rule 101 (6) provides that where a general recount is requested, a returning officer must review all ballots, inclusive of any ballots rejected on Poll day, to determine whether he/she is satisfied with the decision of the presiding officer in this regard.

The counts would have been conducted by presiding officers at polling stations, after the close of poll, in the presence of party agents and Poll Day staff. The number of votes to be recounted were as follows: San Fernando West (15,515), Toco/Sangre Grande (18,237), Tunapuna (17,317), St Joseph (18,193) and La Horquetta/Talparo (17,678).

During the recount, there have been requests to inspect additional documents and requests for specimens of initials. These requests have no legal bearing on the recount.

The raising of matters not properly to be considered at a recount, together with non-adherence to the times set by returning officers for the conduct of a recount, has had the effect of prolonging the process unnecessarily.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley during the 2020 General Election campaign.
(via PNM)

On Poll Day, at each polling station, representatives of candidates (polling agents) are present all day to observe the process and to witness the counting of the ballots/poll cards when the polls close. No polling agent, of any party, made any objection to the proceedings on the day.

At the end of the count on the night of 10 August 2020, no objection was raised by any polling agent and all witnesses signed the Statements of Poll, agreeing to the accuracy of the count and satisfaction with the process.

The EBC gives the assurance that it is doing whatever is necessary, within the law, to facilitate and expedite the proper conduct of the recounts, so they can be completed in the shortest possible time.

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