The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has completed its audit of the 2018 Voters’ Roll as provided by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on the 18th of June 2018.
I said auditing of the 2018 Voters Roll is particularly important given the concerns raised about the 2013 Preliminary Voters Roll. ZESN’s analysis of the 2013 Preliminary Voters Roll found duplicate registrations, under registration of urban and young voters and over registration of rural and older voters.
The objective of the voters roll audit was to provide independent non-partisan information about the quality of the 2018 Voters Roll. This serves to enhance the transparency and accountability of the process.
ZESN’s audit of the 2018 Voters Roll had two components: field tests that involved comparing registration information collected from voters with what is on the 2018 Voters Roll; and computer tests that entailed analysing the 2018 Voters roll for internal consistency and in comparison to the 2013 Preliminary Voters Roll and census data.
The 2018 Voters Roll was assessed along three dimensions: Accuracy (the degree to which the voters roll has errors); Currency (the degree to which the voters roll has been updated); and Completeness (the degree to which the voters roll contains all eligible voters).
“Overall, ZESN finds that the 2018 Voters Roll received on the 18th of June is an improvement over the 2013 Preliminary Voters Roll” said Andrew Makoni the ZESN’s Chairperson.
In terms of accuracy, the audit did not identify anomalies in the 2018 Voters Roll that affected a large percentage of registrants or were they concentrated amongst registrants of a particular area, gender or age. While no voters roll is perfect, a less rushed process would have allowed more time for ZEC to identify and address anomalies.
The 2018 Voters roll is more current than the 2013 Preliminary Voters Roll as there is a significant number of new registrants as well as more urban and young registrants and fewer extremely old registrants.
In terms of completeness, the 2018 Voters Roll is more inclusive than the 2013 Preliminary Voters Roll which was with generally higher registration rates – though registration rates for urban and young voters remain lower those for rural and older voters. ZESN was not able assess the impact of the de-duplication process itself as the ZEC has not provided an electronic copy of the 2018 Preliminary Voters Roll or the Exclusion List.
“In the interest of transparency ZESN encourages the ZEC to release these documents to interested stakeholders. It is also evident that the ZEC continues to make revisions to the 2018 Voters Roll. For example, there are 11,344 more registrants on the List of Polling Stations released by ZEC 2 on 07 July 2018 than on the 2018 Voters Roll. ZESN calls on the ZEC to provide political parties and observer groups with the version of the Voters Roll that will be issued to polling stations and used on Election Day. ZESN remains committed to promoting credible elections and will continue monitoring electoral processes and the environment.”