Attorney-at-law and People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) candidate, Sanjeev Datadin, said yesterday, that the verification of the tabulation of votes as requested by the political parties, observers and the international community, is required by law.
This is after his fellow Attorney-at-Law, Roysdale Forde, said contrary in a previous report by this newspaper. Datadin said that the utterance by Forde, who is a candidate of A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), is pure fantasy.
Datadin pointed to sections 84-86 of the Representation of the People Act. Those provisions, he said, are where the requirement is rooted.
Section 84 states “… Returning Officer shall, in the presence of such of the persons entitled … to be present as attend, ascertain the total votes cast in favour of each list in the district by adding up the votes recorded in favour of each list in the district by adding up the votes recorded in favour of the list in accordance with the Statements of poll, and thereupon publicly declare the votes recorded for each list of candidates.”
Datadin stressed that the word ‘ascertain’ which is synonymous with ‘confirm’, registers the need for verification of the results.
Furthermore, he pointed that the remaining two sections set out the list of persons who are to witness the verification process.
Section 85 notes that the election agent for each group of candidates may appoint a candidate to attend the counting of the votes in a district.
Then, Section 86 states a list of persons eligible to be present at the count: the returning officer and the election officers he appoints, members of the Commission, duly appointed candidates, counting agents, and other persons who the returning officer determines has good reason to be present.
The returning officer is expected to furnish the counting agents with the necessary facilities to oversee the proceedings.
“The only way he could do the tabulation is in the presence of people,” Datadin said.