Proxy Voting is exercised in most forms of voting activity practiced around the world. Regardless of the form its takes, the principles of Proxy Voting have remained firmly established, even though its criteria may vary as a result of the changing dynamics in a society. Proxy Voting may be referred to as the procedure of delegating the right to vote by one person to another, on the latter’s behalf. During Proxy Voting, in the absence of the particular person requesting a proxy, his or her vote will be secured by some other person so designated to vote by the person requesting a proxy. Conventional schools of thought posit that a person so designated to cast the vote on behalf of another is called a “proxy” and the person who delegates the power is called a “principal.” It must be noted that a voter (principal) must have absolute trust in the proxy.
Voting by Proxy: The Guyana Context
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) defines Proxy Voting simply as a vote cast by an appointed voter on behalf of another voter. Proxy voting is available to any eligible elector who is unable to attend his or her Polling Station on Polling Day to cast his or her ballot.
However, anyone desirous of applying for a proxy must satisfy one of the indicators outlined on GECOM’s menu of criteria defining those persons who are entitled to vote by proxy.
Who is entitled to vote by Proxy?
An eligible elector who is unable to personally go to the Polling Station where he or she is registered to vote because he or she:
would be on duty on Election Day either because he or she is (a) a member of the Disciplined Forces, (b) Rural Constable; or (c) persons connected with the elections as assigned by a Returning Officer;
is acting as a Returning Officer for a District other than the District in which he or she is registered to vote;
is employed to work during the elections in a District other than the one in which he or she is registered to vote;
would be engaged in the running of a vessel for the Transport and Harbours Department on Election Day;
is a duly appointed Candidate at the Elections and would be away from home on Election Day; and
is visually impaired or is otherwise living with a physical disability.
Who can be appointed to vote as Proxy?
A Voter can be appointed to vote as proxy only if he or she is registered to vote at the same Pooling Station as the voter he or she will be voting for
A Voter can be appointed to vote as proxy for NO MORE than two other voters.
A voter appointed as proxy must (i) be listed on the same Official List of Electors, (ii) be listed to vote at the same Polling Station, and (iii) must vote at the same time that he or she votes on his or her behalf.
Not more than ONE voter can be appointed to vote on behalf of another voter.
Application for Appointment of Proxy
All applications for the appointment of proxies must be presented to the District Returning Officer not later than 10 days before Election Day.
Please note carefully that the Application Forms for Proxy can be uplifted from the Office of the Returning Officer in your District from Wednesday April 8, 2015. All completed forms must be submitted to the Returning Officer for the Electoral District in which the applicant (elector) is registered to vote, between Wednesday April 8, 2015 and Friday May 1, 2015.
Applications to vote by proxy WILL NOT be accepted after Friday May 1, 2015.
GECOM would like to further state that all applications for proxy will be thoroughly investigated by the relevant Returning Officers in collaboration with the respective Political Parties Scrutineers. A determination on the granting of proxy status to eligible electors will reside with GECOM once all investigations into applications received by the GECOM Secretariat are completed.
It is the right of every eligible elector to go out on May 11, 2015 and vote as early as possible. All of GECOM’s Polling Stations throughout the country will be open from 06:00h to 18:00h.