The claims and objections period does not address the problem of potential voters without source documents so voter turnout might be low

Dear Editor,

Voter turnout in Guyana’s 2006 election was approximately 69%. This figure represents a 23% reduction from the 2001 election when 92% of the electorate cast their ballots.  With a new round of claims and objections being opened, it remains to be seen whether this will result in an increase in the total number of eligible voters or if it does, it will result in an increase in voter participation.

This new registration exercise does not address the issue of large numbers of Guyanese without source documents. Very little research has been done on the question of how many Guyanese are without source documents, namely a birth certificate or a passport.  The problems associated with no source documents are particularly pronounced in some urban areas and certain hinterland areas, and quantifying the number of individuals affected is difficult. The new round of claims and objections does not address this issue, and hence voter participation may very well be the lowest in the history of Guyana.

Yours faithfully,
Winston Felix
Center for Educational Technology

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