‘ZEC Should Adopt Online voter Registration’

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been urged to adopt online voter registrations following the recent surge of COVID-19 cases, an election watchdog said.

ZEC and the government last year announced an indefinite suspension of all elections in the country citing fear of the sored of the virus which has killed more than 500 people in Zimbabwe.

The moratorium also affected the voter registration process which had started prior to the pandemic.

In a statement Tuesday, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) said citizens should be allowed to register as a voter anytime they want in these times.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on the elections in Zimbabwe, it is time the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission accepts COVID-19 as the new normal and finds solutions in providing citizens alternative platforms, different from the norm, to exercise their constitutional rights and participate in electoral processes,” said ERC.

The practice and procedure for voter registration is prescribed in section 17A of the Electoral Act which states that voter registration must be open and continuous in all ZEC district and provincial centres in Zimbabwe.

ERC said in recent times due to COVID-19, concerns around this safety of this process have been raised, which has shifted registration conversations to whether it is possible to adopt an online registration model for Zimbabwe to support the existing registration methods.

“Online registration allows an individual to register by using the internet this simplifies the registration process.

“Online voter registration systems supplement the traditional registration process and follow essentially the same process, but instead of filling out a paper application, the voter fills out a form via an internet site, and that form is submitted electronically to election officials for approval,” the election watchdog further stated.

In recent time’s banks, money transfer agents introduced individual registration through online platforms.

In the short-term, a shift towards online registration overcomes the problems that have been present since the advent of COVID-19, the organisation said.

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