Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has attributed the relatively high number of people who were turned away on the voting day to several factors that include improper documentation and turning up at the wrong polling station in the just ended harmonised elections. In some cases, names of those who intended to vote were not appearing on the voters’ roll.
About 304 980 people were turned away on voting day for various reasons.
In a statement yesterday, ZEC chief elections officer Mr Lovemore Sekeramayi said some people were turned away for failing to produce the required documentation such as valid passports or national identity cards.
“Voters were turned away for not bringing their (national) identity cards or valid passports to prove their identity,” he said.
“Expired passports, torn or illegible documents all led to voters being turned away. Photocopies of national identity documents or invalid passports and drivers licences are not accepted at polling stations for voting purposes.”
In some cases, Mr Sekeramayi said those who were turned away were not registered at all. “Voter registration in Zimbabwe is not compulsory, however, due to peer pressure during elections, some unregistered persons also turn-up at polling stations to present a semblance of compliance with the national programme of elections.”
Mr Sekeramayi said some registered voters had transferred from wards where they are registered as voters hence they could not vote. He, however, said most in such circumstances went back to their original wards and exercised their right to vote while those that had brought wrong documents went back and collected proper documentation.
Mr Sekeramayi said people who registered as voters after the July 9 mandatory voter registration deadline were also turned away.
He said in some cases persons under the age of 18 accounted for the number of turned away people as they showed up at various polling stations. On the number of assisted voters, Mr Sekeramayi said there were a large number of older persons who turned up to vote.
“The main reasons for assisted voters are old age — there was a high turnout of the old aged people in this election which category has a high illiterate rate,” he said.
Mr Sekeramayi said some of the assisted voters were blind and handicapped people.
In future, Mr Sekeramayi said, the number of assisted voters could be reduced by intensifying voter registration.
“While not much can be done about the status of those who get assisted, the turned aways however, can be reduced by effective and continuous voter education by the commission throughout the electoral cycle to educate the electorate especially in urban areas about their wards and ward boundaries with enough voter educators per ward,” he said.