Namibia: 188 000 Register During Supplementary Process

22 September 2020

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) said it has captured approximately 188 000 eligible voters during the just-ended supplementary registration of voters (SRV) process, conducted from 7-15 September 2020.

In an interview with New Era yesterday, ECN chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro said they are currently consolidating the voters' registration data in terms of the percentage of voters who have turned 18 years since 2019, voters who have changed constituencies and voters applying for duplicate voter cards, which will be made available once this process is completed.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank all eligible voters who went to register to vote at the various registration points for their patience, considering the long queues that have been observed countrywide through the SRV process," he said.

He said the provisional voters register will be displayed for inspection during the period 30 September 2020 - 5 October 2020.

This process is conducted in accordance with Section 31 and 32 of the Electoral Act, which requires the ECN to prepare, publish and display such a register for public scrutiny and possible objections against the names of persons included therein.

He explained such objections must be lodged with the electoral tribunals designated for the given magisterial geographical area.

This provides any registered voters, registered political parties, independent candidates and political organisations the opportunity to scrutinise and object to the inclusion or non-inclusion of any name in the provisional voter's register.

The production and printing of the final voters' register will take place during the period 10 October - 25 October 2020.

He said the ECN had observed a slow start to the SRV process in the early days; however, long queues had been observed countrywide in the various constituencies during the last days of registration.

"Additional teams were also deployed to urban centres that experienced congestion of voters to ease the process at respective registration venues. No voters who were in the queues before 19h00 were turned away after the registration venues closed, as we aimed to ensure all eligible voters were registered, causing teams to work till the morning hours at most of the venues on the last day of registration," Mujoro stated.

Due to congestions at registration venues in some urban areas, he said, ECN had a few challenges with the voter registration kits.

However, he said modalities were put in place where IT field support were deployed to all 14 regions to ensure issues were sorted in the shortest time possible on the voter registration kits. "Spare kits were also deployed to registration venues experiencing problems to ensure continuation of the process."

On Covid-19, Mujoro said this is the first time in Namibian history as a nation that national elections are being held during a public health crisis.

For this reason, he says the ECN developed a Covid-19 mitigation strategy document to mitigate the potential impact of the pandemic on the forthcoming elections.

The objective of this document is to outline mitigation strategies and suggest measures to lessen the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic during the forthcoming 2020 regional councils and local authority elections, scheduled to take place in November 2020.

"These measures were put in place at each and every registration venue to ensure the safety of the electorates - and the same will apply for the elections on the 25 November 2020," he maintained.

The decision to have the SRV take place from 7-15 September 2020 was based, amongst others, on the fact that the current national voters register has a total number of 1 348 532 registered voters, of which 370 826 are registered for the local authority elections.

"Looking at these numbers and our population, it is indicative of the fact that most eligible voters had voter cards and our registration officials were able to register all voters who came to register or replace their voters' cards."

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