The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Polls - Zec Ballot Paper Samples Out

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will print 12 million ballots for the constitutional referendum slated for March 16. Samples of the ballot paper were presented to stakeholders and members of the public for inspection at the ZEC offices in Harare yesterday.

The presentation was done in terms of Section 52 (A) of the Electoral Act.

Over 9 000 polling stations will be used during the referendum.

Acting ZEC chairperson Mrs Joyce Kazembe said they decided to print 12 million ballots for the referendum to ensure that no polling station runs out of the ballots.

She, however, allayed fears that there could be manipulation of the vote.

"We had wanted to use the voters' roll to run the referendum to ensure control, but we were told that we should stick to what the law says.

"As you know, the Referendum Act says anyone with a national identity card and over 18 is allowed to vote in a referendum so we decided that 12 million ballots would ensure that ballots do not run out during elections."

Mrs Kazembe said since people would be allowed to vote anywhere in the country, ZEC had decided to increase the number of ballots normally allocated to a polling station to cater for increases that might occur.

"We also did not want a situation where some polling stations would have more people than the ballots they have since people will vote from anywhere and we are not sure who will turn up where," she said.

The ballots will be printed by Fidelity Printers while observers would also be allowed to view the printing process.

Mrs Kazembe said observers willing to observe the referendum should come and register with ZEC.

ZEC Commissioner Mrs Fadzai Nhandara said the ballot had been made public as part of efforts to increase transparency.

"This has been done to fulfil what the legislation requires and also to enhance the transparency and integrity of ZEC because we want you to be with us from the beginning right up to the end," she said.

Mrs Nhandara said voter education would start today in various provinces on the features of the ballot paper and how they would vote on the day.

ZEC chief elections officer Mr Lovemore Sekeramayi said ballots would be counted at each polling station and results posted outside.

"Vote counting will take place at the polling stations and we will soon advertise the polling stations. Once the counting has been done at the polling station the results will be transmitted to the ward centre then the constituency centre, the district centre, the provincial centre and then lastly the national command centre.

"There would be collation and observers at all these levels," he said.

Meanwhile, Mrs Kazembe said ZEC was still hamstrung by a shortage of resources but said the commission would deliver a credible referendum.

Inspection of the ballot was attended by civic groups involved in voter education and members of the public.

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