Voter registration begins
THE biometric voter registration exercise is set to start tomorrow at 63 centres countrywide as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) moves to create a new voter’s roll to direct elections next year and beyond.
Last week, President Mugabe became the first citizen to be registered under the new system that will see the country adopt the new technology. The exercise is a precursor to the massive voter registration blitz next month when ZEC takes delivery of the remaining 2 600 Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits.
To date, Zec has received 400 kits to train technicians as well as use for the fore-running exercise. Biometric technology will apply only for voter registration and Zec will revert to the manual system during the actual election which will take place next year at a date to be fixed. ZEC targets to have a perfect voters’ roll before next year’s general election, a development that is expected to quell post-election disputes and allegations of vote rigging.
Every Zimbabwean who intends to vote in next year’s election is required to register afresh to appear on the new voters’ roll. Prospective voters are required to register to vote nearest to their homes, as voting in next year’s election is going to be polling station-based.
In a statement yesterday, ZEC chief elections officer Mrs Constance Chigwamba said registration of voters would take place at the electoral body’s 63 districts.
“It is hereby notified for general information that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) shall be registering voters using the new Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system at all the ZEC District offices with effect from 18 September 2017. The offices will open during normal working hours from 0800hrs to 1645hrs, Monday to Friday.”
Mrs Chigwamba said documents required for one to register to vote are a national identity card (both metal or plastic or waiting pass with the holder’s picture), a valid passport and proof of residence.
Speaking during the launch of the BVR equipment at State House last Thursday, ZEC Chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said ZEC was ready to conduct biometric voter registration from tomorrow.
“We are ready for this exercise. Financially, we have the resources and our people have been trained to use the kits and they are ready to register all Zimbabweans at the 63 districts,” she said.
“It has been said that after the exercise ends on the 15th of January, it will exclude those that would have turned 18, the answer is a clear no. Voter registration in Zimbabwe is continuous. It will continue until after the 15th of January, until nomination court and 12 days after that.
Justice Makarau said the start of the voter registration exercise is a historic occasion and implored all Zimbabweans to register to vote.
She said the BVR technology will capture a person’s fingerprints, facial features, and identity card details to rule out any chances of double voting.