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Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Election eve chatter (4)

Final election eve chatter goes to the Electoral Commisssion of Zambia, who finally got round to releasing Justice Mumba's 21st October statement on their website today. Let us hope its not a foreshadow of things to come. But at this point, I highlight it because it has this useful extract:

Voting Process at the Polling Station

To allay any fears that stakeholders and the general public may have that, the process may not be transparent, I wish to call on each and every Zambian to pay attention to the polling procedure. All the participating political parties have been provided with a full set of the voters’ register for use by their polling agents who should be stationed in the polling stations from the time the polling stations open at 06.00 hours to the closing of the stations at 18.00 hours. During the voting period all polling agents, monitors and observers will be able to observe the voting process and record the number of voters who will cast their votes. At the close of the poll, the polling agents and observers will know therefore the number of ballot papers that will be used, as these should equal the record of the number of voters who would have cast their votes.

The Count

After the close of the poll, the counting of the votes will be done at the polling station. All polling agents and monitors should witness the count. The announcement form for the election results for each polling station will be signed by the presiding officer and a polling agent from each of the four participating political parties and any monitors and observers present. A signed copy of the results will be given to each of the political parties’ polling agents. The Commission has also instructed that the signed poster of the election results should also be clearly displayed outside each and every polling station. One polling agent or monitor agreed upon by the political parties will then be allowed to accompany the presiding officer and security officer to deliver the election results to the returning officer at the constituency totaling centre.

Totaling of Results

At the constituency totaling centre, the returning officer will total all polling station results in the presence of polling agents, monitors and observers. The polling agents and monitors will be obliged to sign the election results form and will each be given a copy for their records by the returning officer.

Transmission of Results to the Commission Headquarters

The results will be transmitted from the district centres in the presence of political party agents to the Commission Headquarters in Lusaka both electronically and by fax. The same results will also be transmitted to the results centre which will be at Mulungushi International Conference Centre. The final election results will only be announced on receipt of all the election results from all the 150 constituencies. I however wish to remind stakeholders and the public in general, to be mindful that election results from the constituencies and districts will not be received at the same time. This is due to the different terrain and varying distances of polling stations to the constituency centres. As such, we should be patient as we await the receipt of the election results, bearing in mind that the urban constituencies results will be received earlier than the rural constituencies.

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