Source: 1 500 voters per polling station in 2018 – Sunday News Oct 16, 2016
ONLY 1 500 voters will be allowed per polling station during the 2018 harmonised elections, while a new voters’ roll will have photographs of registered electorate members, it has been established.
An indelible ink marker will be used, with biometric technology capturing polling data and deregistering voters with physical profiles that feature at more than one polling station. These and other innovations feed into Zimbabwe’s overarching plan to align electoral processes with international best practices.
The reforms will cost roughly US$30 million, and will be funded by donors and Government. Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chair Justice Rita Makarau told our Harare Bureau, “To manage the queues and to be voter-centric, we have decided to go polling station-specific. This means we will allocate each voter to a particular polling station. Our thresholds will not exceed 1 500 (voters) per polling station. (We have come up with 1 500) because we believe this is the maximum number any polling station, given the number of polling officers we deploy, should be able to process from 7am to 7pm.
“Anything above that will actually stretch our polling officers and compromise accuracy and the integrity of the entire process.
So we have decided to put the threshold at not less than 800 and not more than 1 500 voters per polling station.”
Polling station-based voting is provided for by Section 22A of the amended Electoral Act. Previous elections in Zimbabwe have used ward-based voting, resulting in long queues as one could vote at any polling station in their ward. However, the latest innovation engenders greater transparency as witnessed during trials in recent by-elections. Justice Makarau said Zec will soon invite bids for supply of biometric voter registration technology.
“Just to clarify, biometric voter registration is not an Election Day technology; it is simply a technology for voter registration before the election. Our voting is not going to be electronic because we have a biometric voter registration system. The system means that in addition to your details like date of birth, names, and ID number, we are also going to capture some of your biometrics. We will capture your face and fingerprints digitally. That will give us a new voters’ roll with more integrity. The presiding officer will be able to check if you are the bonafide voter. So, the picture is going to be an additional feature to our voters’ roll.”