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  • Referendum update 3
    Election Resource Centre
    March 16, 2013

    This is an account of reports received between 14:15 and 17:15 hours. Generally the environment remains calm as reported in most of the constituencies save for a few incidences of coercion and intimidation.

    Major Highlights

    • Reports posted from constituencies reveal a steady increase in voter turnout as the day progressed at polling stations. An apparent lack of voter education, firstly on the importance of voting and secondly on the content of the draft could partly be taken as the reasons for the poor turnout.
    • Some polling stations reportedly ran out of ballot papers in Bulawayo East, while many stations in Harare and other centres were left with hordes of unused ballot books.
    • Although most areas have been recording low turnout, a number of constituencies in Tsholotsho South, Epworth (Harare), Lupane West (Jotsholo Secondary School) have recorded high numbers to an extent that polling officials were significantly overwhelmed.
    • Youths below the age of 18 have shown their enthusiasm to be part of the electorate by attempting to vote in the referendum. A case in point is one where three youths below 18 years were turned away at Prince and Princess Crèche in Nkulumane, Bulawayo.
    • There were allegations of acts of coercion in Epworth and Muzarabani. Villagers and residents were reportedly forced to go and vote and were also threatened with unspecified action for failure to comply. However the quandary notably affects those residents who are deemed aliens and are not eligible to vote.
    • The problem of voters being turned away for their presentation of invalid identity documents persisted throughout the day, with drivers’ licenses being the most common form of invalid identities. In one extreme case, a voter presented a business card at Oriel Girls High School, Harare. This common problem clearly confirms that voter education was inadequate.
    • The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) held a briefing meeting for all stakeholders on the Referendum process at 16:15 hours. The Commission notified the nation on progress made and highlighted that it was facing some communication challenges especially with some rural constituencies in Matebeleland North and Mashonaland Central.

    More details to follow on the closing of polling stations and counting of the votes.

    Visit the Election Resource Centre fact sheet

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