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reforms 1: Voter registration
November 14, 2012
In this first
edition of the Electoral reforms update, we look at the reforms
instituted to allow for improved and hustle-free voter registration
as it is the process that leads to a clean and up to date and accurate
voters roll, which is the bedrock of elections.
currently using a voter's roll that was compiled in 1985,
and has been continuously updated since then, a Roll that has been
a subject of a lot of criticism from different circles, with some
even claim it is the inaccuracy of the roll that can lead to rigging
The roll currently
has over 5.5 Million voters registered.
Station Based Registration
The new regulations
provide for polling station specific voter registration, meaning
voters will have to be registered at specific polling stations at
which they will have to vote, and will not be allowed to vote at
any other polling station. The polling station specific registration
system is easier to administer, as each polling station has known
number of registered voters. It also provides safeguard against
double voting as voters can only vote at the particular station
where they are registered.
the history of violence and victimisation that has characterised
Zimbabwe's past elections, the system makes it easy for perpetrators
of violence to target individuals as returns from each polling station
will be made public. It is also easy for political opponents to
intimidate voters pre-election using this polling station registration
The Youth Forum also understands that the political parties that
are signatory to the Global
Political Agreement agreed that the next election will remain
ward based (you can register and vote at any polling station within
your ward) and the polling station specifity regulations will only
be effected after the next election.
issue of proof of residence is still there, but this time with a
provision that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) can now further
prescribe other documents that will be accepted as proof of residence.
This has been implemented to assist those that fail to acquire the
documents prescribed in the Zimbabwe Electoral
Act, as many people, especially youths, have failed to register
due to stringent measures in the requirement for proof of residence.
We only wait
to see the type and nature of document that the Commission will
prescribe as acceptable proof of residence.
It is also important
to note that absence from a constituency for more than 12 months
will mean that person is no longer a resident of that area and can
be removed from the voters roll.
for a New Voters Roll
has a provision that will allow the President, on the advice of
ZEC, to order a new registration of voters. The exercise must last
for at least 6 months but ZEC can extend the period.
Voters on the
old voters roll will be transferred to the new voters roll by simply
presenting themselves to the constituency registrar & producing
proof of identity. New voters will have to go through the normal
registration process, which means, in addition to proof of identity;
they will need proof of residence as well.
will ensure that no dead and ghost voters will appear on the new
roll as, obviously, such people will not appear in person to confirm
their registration. This exercise will depend on those on the old
roll coming forward to confirm their registration.
of Dead Voters
Whilst in the
past dead voters were only removed on the basis of a death certificate
or burial order, the reforms now allow for a relative or traditional
leader (Chief, Headman e.t.c) to make a sworn statement to the effect
that a person on the voters roll is dead, a statement that will
be used to remove the dead person after being presented to a magistrate.
Visit the Youth
Forum fact sheet
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