What happens when voters can’t find their names on the voter’s roll?

The Claim: What happens when voters can’t find their names on the voter's roll?
The Verdict: claim verdict

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) held a six-day voter’s roll inspection process which started on the 27th of May and ended on the 1st of June 2023 ahead of the 23 August elections.

The inspection process was marred with a lot of challenges with some registered voters failing to locate their names on the voter’s roll while some were moved from their original polling stations

What are the voters Inspecting in a voter’s roll?

According to the Electoral Act section 20 subsection 2, a voter’s roll shall specify, in relation to each registered voter, the voter’s first and last names, date of birth, national registration number and sex; and the place where the voter ordinarily resides.

“Such other information as may be prescribed or as the Commission considers appropriate,” states the Electoral Act.

In which format do the voters access the voter’s roll?

 Section 20, subsection (3) says subject to subsection (2) a voter’s roll shall be in such form as may be prescribed or as the Commission considers appropriate.

“Provided that every roll shall be kept in both printed and electronic form. (4) The Commission shall (a) keep at least one copy of every voters roll at its head office; and (b) keep at least one copy of each ward and constituency voters roll at all the Commission’s offices within the constituency concerned: Provided that where there is no office of the Commission within the constituency concerned, the constituency registrar shall have charge and custody of the ward and constituency voters roll for his or her constituency; and (c) keep at least one copy of a consolidated national voters roll at its head office.”

Subsection (4a) says the Commission may prepare and maintain, in printed or electronic form, a consolidated national voters roll and a consolidated voters roll for any constituency or ward, but such rolls shall not be used for the purposes of polling in any election.

“(5) In the event of any discrepancy between an electronic copy of a voters roll and a printed copy of a voters roll, the latter shall be deemed to be the authentic record of the voters roll,” reads the Electoral Act.

Section 21 subsection 1 states that every voter’s roll, and every consolidated roll referred to in section 20(4a), shall be a public document and open to inspection by the public, free of charge, during ordinary office hours at the office of the Commission or the registration office where it is kept.

What happens to anyone tempering with the voter’s roll?

Section 21, subsection (2) states that a person inspecting the voter’s roll for a constituency may, without removing the voter’s roll, make any written notes of anything contained therein during office hours.

Item (9) states that any person who, having been provided with a voters roll in terms of this section—(a) alters the voters roll, that is to say, excises any name from, adds any name to or otherwise alters the voters roll with intent to misrepresent to any person that the altered voters roll is the authentic voters roll for any election; or (b) without the prior written consent of the Commission, makes use of the voters roll for commercial or other purposes unconnected with an election; shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level ten or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

What happens if you can’t find your name?

ZEC Bulawayo Provincial Elections Director, Innocent Ncube said when voters can’t access their names in the voter’s roll, they can visit ZEC offices to check their names in their database.

“When they can’t find their names, they are supposed to write down their details, but before that, they should come so that we check in our system.”

“In case we don’t find them here thus when they can write down their details and start registering again,” said Ncube.

He said the reason for voters not accessing their names might be that they were not captured adding that, “but most of the people we are finding them.”

“They might not be in the inspection centres but we are finding their details,” said Ncube.

After the proclamation of the election date by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday 31 May 2023, those who wish to register and vote in the upcoming election have up to 2 June to register as voters or amend their details.

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