This article was sponsored by Go Zim, a civic education campaign aimed at encouraging citizens to get out and vote on elections day. See more at GoZim.co.zw.
In March of last year, Techzim published an article attempting to dispel the myths surrounding the introduction of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) in Zimbabwe.
The technology, which captures voter’s fingerprints so as to enhance the identification of voters on election day and prevent chances of multiple registrations, was being used by publications to discredit the voting process as a whole – and Techzim attempted to correct some of this misinformation.
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No Biometric Or Electronic Voting
These publications wrote how the ZEC would be using the biometric process to implement “biometric voting or electronic voting”:
This then set the basis for the claim that the system would be susceptible to ‘cyber-attacks’ and ‘hacking’ which would derail the voting process and dis-enfranchise voters, citing France’s abandonment of electronic voting as an example.
Now, over a year later and Zimbabwe is still dealing with these myths – so much so that people are convinced voting is not worth it.
However, it’s time to put your mind at ease: the ZEC will not be implementing ‘biometric or electronic voting’ on 30 July.
One more time with feeling: the ZEC will not be implementing ‘biometric or electronic voting’ on 30 July.
Voting Is Still Manual
Although media outlets and sometimes politicians have shared the idea suggesting the BVR system will enable party leaders or other interested parties to see who voters have voted for, not only is this false information, but damaging as well: the BVR system was simply used to register voters.
It is unconstitutional for anyone to interfere with the voting process, before, during or after voting. So, on Election Day, the BVR system will only be used to verify and authenticate a voter’s credentials. The voter will then be given a manual ballot paper that they will use to manually vote, just like Zimbabwe has been doing since 1980.
Voting is still manual, and you have a right to vote for your candidate of choice in utmost secrecy.
Still not convinced about going to the polling station? Think of it this way: not voting is essentially voting. If you are not voting, you are saying someone else’s choice is your choice. So, even if the candidate you would vote for wins the election, if you have not voted you don’t actually have a legitimate claim on that winning candidate.
It is these messages that need to be shared with everyone so that, come July 30, all Zimbabweans can come out and vote without fear of intimidation as the constitution guarantees their right to vote and to vote for a person of their choice. In secret.
Start conversations, dispel the myths and educate those who still have unwarranted ideas about voting. Encourage your peers, colleagues, family and even foes to get out and vote.
Lastly, check your voter registration details on *265# and make sure to take along your ID and voter registration card on Election Day to prove you have registered.
Come 30 July 2018, go Zim, get out and make your voice heard.