ZEC warns voters taking ballot photographs

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Mutare (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)on Saturday warned voters against taking photographs of marked ballots from polling stations in the parliamentary and local government by-elections underway, saying this was illegal.

Voting is underway in 28 parliamentary and 122 local government wards to choose new representatives to replace office-holders who had either died, been recalled or re-assigned by their parties.

On Saturday, social media was awash with pictures of marked ballots, something that ZEC said was strictly prohibited by law.

Some candidates are reported to have promised financial rewards to voters who brought evidence that they had voted for them.

“It’s not allowed to take photographs of ballots and posting them via social media. Those doing so, are contravening the laws governing the elections in the country. Actually, they face a risk of being suspended from taking part in the electoral activities for the next five years,” ZEC spokesperson Jasper Mangwana told New Ziana in a telephone interview.

He advised the electorate to desist from doing so, saying taking photographs inside a polling station is prohibited and constituted a criminal offence in terms of Section 30 of the Electoral Regulations S.I.21 of 2005.

ZEC Chief Executive Officer, Utoile Silaigwana said taking photos is a contravention of the Constitution which protects the right to security of the ballot.

“Voters are advised that this constitutional provision is in place to protect them from victimization and is an internationally recognized right which the Commission endevours to protect,” he said.

“Voters are thus advised to desist from any actions that might compromise the right and integrity of the electoral process,” he added.

New Ziana

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