THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is this month primarily focusing on the designing of ballots, procurement of materials, the training of electoral officers and the setting up of command centres, with the electoral body also seized with the postal vote.
In terms of the Electoral Act, postal voting is possible for those on duty on polling day as members of the disciplined forces, electoral officers, those on duty in the service of the Government of Zimbabwe outside Zimbabwe and their spouses.
An application for a postal ballot paper must be received by the Chief Elections Officer not later than noon on the 14th day after nomination day of an election.
This means that for the upcoming harmonised elections, the Commission stopped receiving applications for postal ballot before noon on July 5.
The electoral body last week distributed the national voters’ register to all Presidential election candidates and is on Thursday expected to release the voters roll to all National Assembly and Local Authority candidates.
In addition, according to its elections calendar, ZEC will next month publish lists of polling stations, conduct elections at the National Council of Chiefs and elect its president and deputy president for their Senate seats, close receipt of postal vote ballots and hold its second observers’ briefing.
ZEC vice chairperson, Ambassador Rodney Kiwa, told The Herald that following the release of the voters’ roll, the electoral body was working on the postal vote.
He said it was worth noting that postal voting would not take place at any designated polling station, hence there will be no election agents or observers.
“Postal ballots are sent to qualifying applicants either by post, commercial courier service or through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or commanding officers for delivery to the applicant,” said Mr Kiwa.
“Upon receipt of the postal ballots, the applicant will then indicate the candidate for whom they wish to vote for by putting a cross against their candidate’s name and this is done in secret.
“Thereafter they will place their ballots in provided envelopes, seal them and dispatch them back to the chief elections officers. On delivery, the Chief Elections Officer will distribute them to the appropriate polling stations where they will be placed in the ordinary ballot boxes and counted along with rest of the ballots cast on election day.”
Mr Kiwa dismissed allegations by the opposition that the release of the voters’ roll to candidates was skewed in the ruling Zanu-PF’s favour as baseless.
Contestants will only receive voters’ rolls specific to their areas of contest.
“The comment on that is that at ZEC we do not do politics,” he said.
August 16 will see the dispatching of postal votes to constituencies and will be the last day for submission of names of roving agents.
August 18 will be the day printed ballot papers will be published with closure of receipt of applications for observer accreditation on the following day.
Ambassador Rodney Kiwa
Zanu-PF has already clinched 91 council wards after opposition political parties failed to field candidates at the close of the Nomination Court sitting.
The ruling party successfully fielded candidates in all the 210 seats for the National Assembly and 1 970 local authority seats, while the opposition CCC party was marred by confusion leading to the fielding of double candidates and in some instances triple candidates in several constituencies.
It fielded double candidates in 20 Parliamentary constituencies, with 15 of them appearing in Harare, three in Bulawayo, one in Mashonaland East Province and one in Mashonaland West Province.