Namibia: Ongwediva Voters Sceptical Over Voting With Pencils

26 November 2020

SOME voters at Ongwediva in the Oshana region yesterday said they were sceptical about casting their votes in pencil, saying this could lead to irregularities.

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) reintroduced ballot papers after a ruling by the High Court to discontinue the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) without a paper trail after several parties raised concerns about their reliability.

Even though many people were excited about the return of ballot papers, some had their reservations.

At many polling stations in the region, voters were seen using pens supplied by the ECN in voting booths.

Some voters at Ongwediva said they had no choice but to use pencils to cast their votes as polling stations ran out of ink.

Voters said they are fearing fraud.

"Why are they allowing us to vote with pencils, which can easily be erased? This should not be allowed, and we are totally against it. It's fraud. Why are some people using ink while others are using pencils?" a voter, who did not want to be named, asked.

Another voter concurred, saying their votes could be replaced with votes for another candidate.

"This is totally unacceptable, and we want the ECN to consider this as a serious offence. They must not exchange our votes with other candidates' votes."

The ECN's regional coordinator for the Oshana region, Ephraim Iiyambo, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Other issues at polling stations in the region included voter verification devices malfunctioning, which forced polling officials to verify voters' identification manually, causing delays.

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