Source: Daily News (Zimbabwe)
By Maxwell Sibanda
HARARE – Proposition that persons should be allowed to vote anywhere in the country upon production of their national identity documentation cards (IDs) for the 2018 general election is a recipe for electoral chaos, analysts have said.
There have been calls by some political actors for the abandonment of the voters’ roll to allow for voters to solely use IDs for verification on election day.
The analysts are fearful that with significant numbers of Zimbabweans who have neither identification cards nor birth certificates, the ID voter system would allow the Registrar-General — widely viewed as being politically partisan and manipulative — to play a key role because it is his office that issues ID cards.
For many persons obtaining this documentation remains problematic, yet without this they would be disenfranchised if they need it to vote.
The analysts said simply put, the proposed ID voting system just will not work. They argue that while biometric voter registration (BVR) does not solve all voting problems, it is a step in the right direction as it ensures credible data, will provide a new voter registration process, a new infrastructure and a de-duplication process.
Election Resource Centre (ERC) director Tawanda Chimhini said if the electoral commission opts to use the ID system it would face a great challenge to determine the number of ballot papers to print.
“The proponents of ID voting argue for printing of ballot papers equivalent to the population of the country. This is highly dangerous as large numbers of extra ballot papers could be misused for ballot fraud.
“It would also be difficult to decide how to allocate polling stations around the country as it would be unknown how many people are likely to vote at particular polling stations if people can vote anywhere with just their ID.
“There are also insurmountable problems for the electoral commission to decide how the ballot papers are to be distributed around polling stations and the country.”