via Govt to reinstate postal vote | The Herald January 7, 2014
Government will scrap the Special Vote and reinstate postal voting if the Electoral Amendment Bill published in the Government Gazette last week is passed into law.The Special Vote posed huge logistical challenges in running last year’s harmonised elections.
It was introduced via the Electoral Act during the inclusive Government as a balloting mechanism for members of the disciplined forces and other Government workers on duty during actual polling days.
This was after the MDC formations raised concerns about the transparency of the postal vote. However, the Special Vote resulted in chaotic scenes during the two days of voting that had been set aside for the purpose and resulted in at least 30 000 members of the disciplined forces failing to vote.
According to the Bill, Clause 33 will reinstate the postal vote.
“This clause reinstates the right of members of disciplined forces and electoral officers who will be away from their constituencies on security or official duties to vote by postal ballot.
“Consequently upon the amendment effected by Clause 33, this clause abolished the part in the Electoral Act dealing with ‘Special Voting’,” reads part of the Bill.
Clause 43 will also amend the Act by removing the drawing of lots to find a winner in a parliamentary or local authority election in the event there is a tie.
“This clause will substitute sections 129 and 130 of the principal Act, which provides for the drawing of lots in the presence of the Chief Elections Officer in cases where the two top candidates in an election to Parliament or a local authority are tied.
“This clause will substitute these provisions by enacting that, in such an event, a run-off by-election for the seat in question must be held,” reads the Bill.
The gazetting of the Electoral Amendment Bill is part of measures to align the country’s laws with the new Constitution.