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Entitlement to vote, number of votes and identification of voters

Myles Matarise

STAFF WRITER

matarisem@dailynews.co.zw

 

The entitlement to vote, number of votes and identification of voters is an important aspect during the electoral process. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) launched a Draft Comprehensive Electoral Amendment Bill in which they outlined the functions of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in relation to that.

At a general election, every voter registered on a polling station voters roll shall be entitled to vote at that polling station for—

(a) a presidential candidate; and

(b) one of the candidates who have been duly nominated for election as a constituency member in the constituency in which the polling station is situated; and

(c) one of the candidates who have been duly nominated for election as a councillor for the ward in which the polling station is situated.

(2) At a by-election, every voter registered on a polling station voters roll shall be entitled to vote at that polling station for one of the candidates—

(a) who have been duly nominated for election as a constituency member in the constituency in which the polling station is situated; or

(b) who have been duly nominated for election as councillor for the ward in which the polling station is situated; as the case may be.

(3) At any election—

(a) except as provided in Part XVII, a voter shall not be entitled to vote anywhere other than at the polling station on whose roll he or she is registered;

(b) subject to sections 91 and 92, a voter shall not be entitled to vote more than once for a presidential candidate or for a candidate who has been duly nominated for the constituency or ward in which the polling station is situated.

(4) The presiding officer may put to an applicant for a ballot paper such questions as he or she considers necessary to ascertain whether or not the applicant is registered as a voter on the voters roll for the ward.

(5) Unless otherwise directed by the Commission, the presiding officer shall require an applicant for a ballot paper to produce his or her voter’s registration certificate or proof of identity, and if—

(a) the applicant is registered as a voter on the voters roll for the ward; and

(b) there is no indication that the applicant has previously received a ballot paper or postal ballot paper for the election; the presiding officer shall mark or otherwise deal with that certificate or proof of identity in a manner directed by the Commission and shall, subject to subsection (6), hand the applicant a ballot paper.

 

(6) If polling in two or more elections is being conducted simultaneously at the polling station and an applicant declines to accept a ballot paper for any one or more of those elections, the presiding officer shall not hand the applicant a ballot paper for that election and shall record, in such manner as may be prescribed or directed by the Commission, that the applicant did not, at his or her request, receive the ballot paper.

(7) A presiding officer, if so directed by the Commission—

(a) before handing an applicant a ballot paper in terms of subsection (5), shall require the applicant to submit to an examination specified by the Commission to ascertain whether or not he or she has previously received a ballot paper at that election, and if the applicant refuses to submit to such examination or if such examination shows that the applicant has previously received such a ballot paper, the presiding officer shall not hand him or her a ballot paper;

(b) after handing an applicant a ballot paper in terms of subsection (5), shall mark him or her in the manner specified by the Commission.

 Manner of voting

The voting at an election shall be by ballot which shall be conducted in substance and as nearly as possible in the following manner—

(a) every ballot paper shall be in the form prescribed and there shall be printed on every ballot paper—

(i) in type of equal size, the names of all the duly nominated candidates at the election in alphabetical order of surnames; and

(ii) the symbols, if any, specified by the duly nominated candidates at the election in terms of section 77(1)(b), each printed to a size that permits the vertical extremities or the horizontal extremities or both such extremities to touch opposite sides of the appropriate square on the ballot paper; and

(iii) in capital letters of equal size, the abbreviation of every political party for which a duly nominated candidate at the election is standing or which is sponsoring such a candidate, where the candidate concerned specified the abbreviation in his or her nomination paper in terms of section 77(1)(c); and

(iv) a passport-sized photograph of the candidate; and

(v) such other particulars as may be prescribed;

(b) before the ballot paper is handed to the applicant, the presiding officer shall mark the ballot paper with the official mark;

(c) when the person claiming the vote has received the ballot paper he or she shall—

(i) take the paper to the compartment provided for the purpose; and

(ii) then signify the candidate for whom he or she desires to vote by secretly placing a cross in the rectangle opposite the name of that candidate or, if there is more than one such rectangle, in the rectangle nearest to the right-hand side of the ballot paper; and

(iii) then fold the ballot paper so that the official mark is visible and the names of the candidates and the cross made by him or her are not visible and drop the ballot paper in the ballot box placed in front of the presiding officer:

Provided that, if he or she has spoilt the ballot paper, he or she may return it to the presiding officer in terms of section 92 and shall deal with the second ballot paper given to him or her in accordance with this paragraph.

Spoilt ballot papers

If a voter inadvertently spoils a ballot paper, he or she may return it to the presiding officer who shall, if satisfied of the inadvertence, give the voter another ballot paper and retain the spoilt paper, and the spoilt paper shall be immediately cancelled and the fact of the cancellation shall be noted upon the counterfoil.

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