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Reforms 3: Special and assisted voting
November 30, 2012
There has been
an array of reforms aimed at ensuring that all special / postal
votes adhere to the democratic principle of secrecy in voting. In
the past, most special votes could be influenced by one's
occupation as these were done under the supervision of superiors
in the case of disciplined forces.
is now to be done least 16 days in advance of ordinary elections
at special voting stations and will be carried out for 2 days.
is now entitled to a) members of disciplined forces who will be
performing security duties during the election outside their wards;
and b) persons who will be electoral officers on the ordinary polling
day or days outside their wards. They will need to apply for special
voting 'to the Chief Elections Officer (in which event written
proof of delivery shall be required) not later than noon on the
fourteenth day after nomination day in the election.'
Commission (ZEC) will then run special voting stations as if they
are ordinary polling stations and both voting and subsequent procedures
to gather these votes and dispatch them to the relevant wards are
subject to stringent safeguards and will be able to be observed
by election agents and observers.
to be used ensure secrecy and are work on the following areas: sending
of ballot papers to those eligible for special voting, marking of
all envelopes used, and distribution of all postal votes as well
as the subsequent counting of the votes. All the measures implemented
seek to ensure that the votes are respected and there is no influence
on the voters.
and literate but incapacitated voters will be able to be assisted
by a person of their own choice without the Presiding Officer being
present, as was the case in the previous elections.
voters will be assisted by person of their own choice, but the Presiding
Officer will still be present 'to ensure compliance with the
voter's wishes'. This has sparked controversy with the
visually impaired voters claiming this defeats the purpose of bringing
in a 'trusted' assistant, as it allows the Presiding
Officer to observe voter's choice, a situation that might
result in the victimisation of the voters after elections.
With the new
regulations, only one person can assist another person, no single
person can assist more than one person to vote and also the person
assisting must be an adult but does not necessarily need to be a
If an illiterate
or incapacitated voter does not bring an assistant, he / she will
be assisted by two electoral officers and the police officer on
duty to cast his / her vote.
reforms are commendable, it is important to take seriously the grievances
of the visually impaired voters, as this might result in their absconding
the election day, fearing victimisation after Presiding Officers
observe their candidates of choice.
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