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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Mobile voter registration falls short of expectations
    Election Resource Centre
    July 10, 2013

    The Election Resource Centre (ERC) acknowledges the 30 day intensive mobile voter registration exercise conducted by ZEC which commenced on the 10th of June 2013 and ended on the 9th of July 2013.

    The combined civil and voter registration provided an opportunity for prospective voters to acquire new and lost identification documents, register to vote and inspect the voters roll. However, the process itself was fraught with logistical and technical challenges which impeded the registration of all prospective registrants.

    While the mobile registration exercise started slowly at the beginning, huge numbers of applicants visited the various centers for registration during the second half of the thirty-day period. Notably the allocation of mobile centers was largely district based contrary to the original conception of a ward focused decentralization of registration centers.

    From reports received by the ERC, it is discernable that a number of prospective registrants failed to successfully apply for registration as voters by the end of the process on the 9th of July 2013. This was a direct consequence of a myriad of challenges which faced the voter registration exercise under review. Some of the challenges included:

    • Limited publicity on places, time and associated requirements for one to register as a voter.
    • Inadequate voter education to encourage eligible voters especially youths to locate the importance of voting.
    • Inaccessibility of registration centers to people living with disabilities, the elderly or pregnant women.
    • Inconsistent application of provisions for voter registration- Some registration officials would accept affidavits as proof of residency whilst other officials at different centers were seen turning away voters on the basis of their failure to show proof of residence.
    • General lethargic service – ERC observers also noted a combination of unprofessional conduct and disturbing lack of urgency by certain registration officials in some centers resulting in long winding queues at various centers throughout the country.

    This cumulatively culminated in long queues remaining even a few hours before the exercise ended. An aggregation of the foregoing challenges directly forced some potential voters to involuntarily withdraw from pursuing their interest to participate in the electoral process. Evidently a lot more people failed to register as voters even following ZEC`s “extension” of the exercise by about 5 hours to 12 midnight on the last day of the mobile registration exercise.

    As the process for registering voters has been closed, it is important for ZEC and associated stakeholders to continue cherishing the principles of comprehensiveness and inclusiveness of the voter registration process. Lessons from the previous voter registration process must in future inform ZEC that the provisions for continuous voter registration in Zimbabwe must run parallel to a similarly continuous voter education process. Meanwhile, the ERC urges ZEC, civic society and political parties to ensure that those who have registered as voters are adequately informed to sustain their interest by participating in the polling process as voters.

    Visit the Election Resource Centre fact sheet

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