The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says 7461 people successfully applied for postal voting while 181 applications were turned down because the applicants were not registered voters.
ZEC Chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba told local and foreign observers during a briefing in Harare today that postal voting has commenced and is being conducted within the confines of the law and no postal voting stations have been set up by the commission.
The social media has been awash with videos and pictures purporting that police officers in Bulawayo were on Thursday coerced to cast their postal ballots under the watchful eyes of their commanders.
However, Justice Chigumba poured cold water on the claims, saying the process is being done within the confines of the law.
She said the ZEC schedule shows that the postal vote ballots should be returned by July 16, adding that in compliance with the law, successful applicants have been furnished with the voting material in advance and are now expected to send their votes in sealed packets to the Chief Elections Officer at ZEC at least 14 days before the actual date of the poll.
ZEC Acting Chief Elections Officer, Mr Utoile Silaigwana explained how the postal ballot system is conducted and dispelled the notion that the absence of ZEC officials in places where postal voting was taking place was unconstitutional.
According to ZEC, the breakdown for those who applied for postal voting includes 4616 members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, 80 Zimbabwe National Army officers, 312 Air Force of Zimbabwe officials, 50 officials from the ministry of foreign affairs and 2403 electoral officers.
When the Chief Elections Officer receives the postal ballots, he will distribute them to their respective constituencies in their sealed envelopes within seven days of the date of the actual poll.
The postal votes are further dispatched to their respective wards before the 30th of July and they will only be opened for counting at the center together with the rest of the votes.
Other issues that were also clarified include the printing of the presidential ballot papers which she said are almost complete, the National Assembly ballots which are 50 percent complete.
2000 braille copies of voter education material have also been printed, while 131 000 personnel will be deployed for elections and polling stations will be set up by the 28th of July.
ZEC said they invited all political parties to witness the printing of ballot papers and once the printing of ballot paper sis complete, the electoral management body will publish the number of copies printed.
Source – ZBC