The Election Resource Centre (ERC) a local election watchdog, has expressed concern over reports of alleged tampering of the voters’ roll saying the reports erode stakeholders’ confidence in the country’s electoral processes. Pindula News this week reported that some civil society groups said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) moved some 170 000 voters from their original constituencies and wards. Pindula News presents ERC’s statement on the matter:
STATEMENT: ERC CONCERNED BY VOTERS ROLL ANOMALIES
The Election Resource Centre (ERC) notes with grave concern at the alleged tampering of the voters’ roll availed to stakeholders ahead of the March 26 by-elections. The ERC has received numerous complaints from citizens who allegedly had their polling stations and wards changed arbitrarily without due notice in accordance with section 35(2) Electoral Act.
A closer study of the 2018 and the 2022 voter rolls, show inconsistencies in Harare East, Kwekwe, Mutasa South and Redcliff Constituencies amongst others. These ungazetted changes erode citizens and stakeholder confidence in the electoral process.
Section 35 (2) states that; “a notice of the alteration shall be published in the Gazette by the Commission or voter registration officer, as the case may be. ZEC must fully inform the voters of the reasons why these movements or changes are necessary or desirable,” which has not occurred.
The ERC reiterates that ZEC must maintain the integrity of the voters’ roll, while also working to ensure that all electoral stakeholders are not intimidated when questioning the credibility of the voters’ roll. The Commission is on record stating that the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and the deduplication exercises are used to clean errors found on the voters’ roll. Therefore, these exercises should never result in errors in the voters’ roll availed to stakeholders.
In adherence to the principles of transparency, the ERC calls on the ZEC to avail evidence and information necessary to restore public confidence in the voters’ roll, which includes addressing the changes to polling stations without due notification.
ELECTION RESOURCE CENTRE
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