The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has welcomed the decision by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to review the positioning of voting booths ahead of the 30 July 2018 harmonised elections by reverting back to the set up in previous elections.
The proposed positioning of the voting booths which would have seen voters casting their ballots in full view of the polling officials, political party agents and observers was a threat to the secrecy of the vote.
ZESN applauded ZEC for taking into consideration the concerns raised by electoral stakeholders on the placement and positioning of the ballot booths. The initial proposed positioning of the booths which was meant to deter voters from taking photographs and serial numbers of their ballot papers was met with contempt by various electoral stakeholders over concerns that it did not guarantee the secrecy of the vote.
“We are pleased that ZEC have taken this crucial step which we believe is essential to safeguarding the secrecy of the vote, it is imperative now for the Commission and other institutions supporting democracy to ensure that the political environment outside polling stations is devoid of intimidation and harassment of voters before and after voting,” said ZESN Chairperson, Mr Andrew Makoni.
In addition, ZESN urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to notify its officers of the change on the positioning and placement of the voting booths to ensure there is consistency in all polling stations on election day.
“ZESN calls upon ZEC to provide political parties and observer groups with the version of the Final Voters Roll before the election to enhance stakeholder confidence and trust in electoral process. ZESN continues to monitor and observe the pre-election environment and electoral processes.”