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ZEC Alters Postal Ballot Dispatch Period For 2023 Elections

9 months agoThu, 03 Aug 2023 15:41:26 GMT
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ZEC Alters Postal Ballot Dispatch Period For 2023 Elections

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has altered the period specified in the Electoral Act for the dispatch of postal ballot papers for the 2023 general elections.

The Commission said due to the high number of court applications and appeals against the decision of the nomination court, the Commission has been unable to print and distribute ballot papers until the finalisation of the said matters. The alteration allows for a shorter period for the dispatch of covering envelopes for postal ballots, with the deadline now set at noon three days before polling day instead of noon on the fourteenth day before polling day. The regulations have been approved by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Read the regulations:

Electoral (Alteration of Period) Regulations, 2023

WHEREAS, in terms of section 74 of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13], if the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is satisfied that an
applicant for a postal vote is entitled to receive such postal vote, the Chief Elections Officer shall issue a postal ballot paper to the applicant;

AND WHEREAS section 75(1)(d) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] provides that a person to whom such a postal ballot has been sent shall after attending to the processes specified in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of the said section, dispatch the covering envelope by registered post or by a commercial courier service or diplomatic courier so that it is received by the Chief Elections Officer not later than noon on the fourteenth day before polling day or the first polling day, as the case may be, in the election;

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AND WHEREAS the Chief Elections Officer has received and authorised applications for postal voting;

AND WHEREAS, given the high number of Court applications and appeals against the decision of the nomination court, the Commission has been unable to print and distribute ballot papers until the finalisation of the said matters;

AND WHEREAS the Commission is empowered in terms of section 192(4) and (5) of the Electoral Act, in instances it considers necessary or desirable to ensure that any election is properly and efficiently conducted and to deal with any matter or situation connected with, arising out of or resulting from the election, to make statutory instruments altering any period specified in the Act within which anything connected with, arising out of or resulting from any election must be done:

NOW, THEREFORE, it is hereby notified that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, in terms of section 192(4) and (5) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13], has, with the approval of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, made the following regulations:—

1. These regulations may be cited as the Electoral (Alteration of Period) Regulations, 2023.

2. For the purposes of the 2023 general elections to be held on 23rd August, 2023, the period specified in section 75(1)(d) of the
Electoral Act is altered from “not later than noon on the fourteenth day before polling day . . . ” to “not later than noon three days before polling day . . . ”.

Postal voting is available for members of the disciplined force on duty, electoral officers deployed outside their polling areas, and diplomats and their spouses serving outside Zimbabwe on the day of the election.

Eligible persons must submit an application to the ZEC Chief Elections Officer and once approved, the applicant will receive three postal ballots: one for the Presidential, one for the National Assembly, and one for the local authority elections. After marking their chosen candidates in secret, they must place the ballots in envelopes, seal them, and return them to the Chief Elections Officer. Processing of postal votes is being done at the TelOne Centre in Belvedere, Harare.

There are no designated venues for postal voting, and voters who choose to vote by post will neither vote at polling stations nor in the presence of polling staff, observers, or election agents. However, members of the public may inspect the postal vote applications and the register of all applications for postal ballot papers at the postal vote processing centre.

The Commission’s policy is to allow electoral officers on duty to vote on a rotational basis without disrupting the polling process. ZEC said it is committed to ensuring that no eligible voters are disenfranchised, and electoral officers who feel that their participation may impinge on their constitutional rights may withdraw from the exercise.

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