UNC files petition over EBC handling of Arima Northeast recount in LGE

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UNC files petition over EBC handling of Arima Northeast recount in LGE

The United National Congress (UNC) has stuck to its word and has filed an election petition over the Election and Boundaries Commission’s (EBC) handling of the Arima Northeast District in the recently concluded Local Government Elections.

The petition was filed on behalf of UNC candidate Jairzinho Rigsby on Friday afternoon, and came after the party filed another in relation to the Lengua/Indian Walk district.

The petition surrounds the EBC’s handling of a recount, and a subsequent review of queried ballots conducted after an initial count on election night (August 14) resulted in Rigsby and People’s National Movement (PNM) candidate Kim Garcia each receiving 623 votes.

A first recount took place on August 16 and resulted in Rigsby being declared the successful candidate having received an additional vote.

However, the PNM demanded a review, which saw Garcia eventually declared the winner, as two previously rejected ballots were reconsidered and ascribed to her.

In the petition, Rigsby’s lawyer, Arif Rahman, contends that the two ballots should not have been deemed valid.

Dealing with the first, Rahman claimed that it was first queried because it contained an “X” next to Garcia’s name and another placed on the reverse side visibly within the box next to his client’s name.

“It is contended that the intention of the voter was unclear, ambiguous, and uncertain and could not be attributed to either candidate,” Rahman said.

In terms of the second disputed ballot, Rahman claimed that it was marked with a three-digit number with an “X” over it.

“This marking appeared to be distinct, unique, and could be identified by the person who marked the same, additionally the voter’s intention could not be construed as clear given the presence of an additional “X” marker,” Rahman said.

He also contended that during the check, EBC officials rejected the second ballot, but they double-counted an uncontested ballot that was already ascribed to Garcia that was mistakenly included in the queried ballots.