#2018ZimElections: "Postal Voting Underway", Elections Body

Harare - Postal voting for the July 30 harmonised elections is underway around the country as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has dispatched ballots to all those eligible to vote under the system, the electoral body’s acting chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana has said.

He said the absence of ZEC officials in places where postal voting was taking place was constitutional.

The Electoral Act states that postal voting is available to individuals and their spouses who are outside Zimbabwe on Government business on polling day. Security and polling officers on duty on voting day are also eligible for postal voting.

“The postal vote process is underway. We have indeed dispatched some of the postal ballots not only to the police but all those who are eligible, including those in foreign missions. 
Police Voting in Bulawayo Recently 

Since we have already dispatched some of the postal votes, we are expecting them to be casting their votes wherever they are and we are now waiting to receive back the postal votes so that we can take them to the respective polling stations.”

A ZEC schedule shows the postal vote ballots should be returned by July 16, 14 days before the polls as stipulated by the law. Silaigwana said people using postal vote also do so in secret.

“After voting they put their marked ballot papers in an envelope and you seal it. You take it back to your commanding officer or whoever the authority who facilitated that you use postal vote and that authority will bring it to the ZEC so that we send it to the respective polling station. 

“If we sent the postal ballot to you we mark on the voters’ roll that you have voted through postal vote. It means you are no longer eligible to vote again even if you come to the polling station. At the polling station, the voters’ roll will indicate that you voted through postal vote.”

On the presence of ZEC officials during postal voting, he said, “There is nothing wrong with the absence of ZEC there because remember let us say someone is Darfur on peace keeping mission or someone is at the embassy in the United States, do you think ZEC can be in all those places?”

MDC-Alliance Tendai Biti yesterday rushed to convene a press conference after gathering that some members of the police who will be on duty on the polling day were voting in Bulawayo.

Meanwhile ZRP commander for this year’s harmonised elections Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza allayed fears of vote rigging by police officers saying only those on duty on voting day qualified for postal voting.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police wishes to set the record straight and allay fears of vote rigging by police officers as claimed in some social media messages which are circulating,” he said. - The Herald 

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