Gecom has issued a statement requiring voters to verify their existence at a registration with a voter’s card or national ID or their names will be removed from the voters’ list. It is a most oppressive requirement that not even Forbes Burnham or the election rigger Harold Bollers would have approved. It is worse than what some red necks in America have done to Blacks in attempts to suppress their voter turnout. And we now are told that it was not a decision made by Gecom commissioners. It was never discussed. So how did the edict make the press? Who issued it? The Chair needs to issue a clarification on this matter. There must be accountability.
That edict on voter verification is an underground way of bypassing the court’s ruling that residency is not a requirement for voter registration and that no eligible voter can be removed from the voters’ list. It is an illegal requirement and in defiance of the High Court ruling that registrants cannot be removed from the list unless death or transference is verified. Voters are already on a list through a legitimate registration process. The names of the dead should be removed but not the living who may not be able to visit a registration office to verify existence. There should be some way of making sure that those on the voters’ list are eligible to vote but Gecom can’t make it an oppressive act. There should be a simple verification process as done in the past not a mandate that a legitimate voter show up at a registration office to prove existence. The latter would be an attempt at voter suppression reminiscent of Black Americans, a requirement I fought shoulder to shoulder with Blacks in the USA. Thode Blacks with whom I fought alongside against White racism need to speak out. And where is David Hinds on this voter suppression act? Is this an attempt to suppress Amerindian and Indian turnout? Is Gecom staff imitating or learning from American red necks to disenfranchise voters not of their own ethnicity?
Why is a legitimate voter’s automatic right to vote being questioned? Implicitly, Gecom’s order (if it’s is) is requiring an ID card to vote. And a court previously ruled against such a requirement. To mandate voters to show up at a registration office to verify their existence or eligibility to vote is therefore illegal.
There is noting in the constitution requiring an ID card to verify existence or right to vote. In fact, in the Esther Perrera case, Justice Claudette Singh (now Gecom Chair) herself ruled such a requirement to be illegal and proceeded to vitiate the election.
Besides being illegal, the new requirement creates hardship for eligible voters. It is virtually impossible for voters to go to a registration office to confirm their status as a voter. Voters may live far from a registration office and don’t wish to undertake travel. Some may not be mobile. Some may be out of the area where they live — in the interior or abroad where they work or taking care of relatives or on vacation, etc. Others may not afford the means to travel to the registration office. It is extremely difficult for people in hinterland areas to visit a registration office. Many Amerindians would be disenfranchised. Clearly, this new requirement by Gecom hinders voter participation and as such illegal. Also, this law was never in effect. Why suddenly now?
The status of adults as voters was never in doubt thru November of last year for all previous elections. Why is voter status or existence now being questioned? If verification of eligibility to vote is questioned or there are doubts about existence, officials from the registration office could visit their place of residence and verify their existence or if they live there. In the past, a representative each from government and opposition would visit homes of questionable voters to authenticate their existence. Why can’t the same be done now? Gecom’s job is to make it easy for voters to exercise the franchise not more difficult. This new requirement is akin to the efforts by red neck election officials in America in the south and mid-west seeking to disenfranchise Blacks from voting. The move is aimed at removing eligible voters who will not vote for a certain party. Gecom must cancel this order to disenfranchise voters.