The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has urged all eligible Zambian citizens to register during the 2020 Voter Registration exercise even if one is currently registered.
In a statement clarifying on the eleigibility to vote in 2021 and future elections, ECZ said that those who will not register during the 2020 Voter Registration exercise will not be able to vote in the 2021 General Elections and future elections conducted under the new register of voters.
In a statement released to the media, ECZ said that all eligible Zambian citizens who will register during the 2020 Voter Registration Exercise will qualify to vote in the 2021 General Elections. but said that
The Commission further said that eligible Zambians who will not register will only be eligible to vote in
future elections when the Commission undertakes another voter registration exercise after the 2021 General Elections.
“If you do not register you will not vote in the 2021 General Elections. The current Voters card will not be used in the 2021 general elections, ” the statement concluded.
Earlier, (ECZ) launched the online voter pre-registration exercise which is expected to run from September 21 to November 6, 2020. ECZ Board Chairperson Justice Esau Chulu urged eligible citizen to take advantage of the online voter registration which will allow them to submit most of their details online, after which they will be required to physically visit designated registration centres for capture of their biometrics before being issued with a voter’s card.
Justice Chulu said the online pre-registration which commenced yesterday will run up to 6th November 2020 and further emphasized that all those who will not be able to pre-register online will still be catered for during the voter registration which will run from 28th October to 30th November 2020.
Justice Chulu emphasised that those that do not register will not be eligible to vote in the 2021 general election.
And ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano explained that the online pre-registration is not a final process but is aimed at enhancing the electoral process. Mr. Nshindano said the voter registration will birth a new register that takes into account various factors. Mr. Nshindano further said the commission has developed guidelines that will ensure there is no spread of covid-19.
And ECZ Commissioner Emily Sikazwe urged civil society organizations and church leaders to educate the public on the need to register. Dr. Sikazwe said the voter registration exercise will not be extended due to time limit and tight schedule running up to the 2021 general election. She also wondered why some political parties and Civil Society Organisations are questioning the ECZ’s move to come up with a new register when it was a recommendation from them.
Meanwhile, ECZ has disclosed that they will soon share guidelines with various stakeholders concerning the voting process and other related procedures for prisoners.
ECZ chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano says the guidelines will be shared in order to fully understand how the process will be conducted following various concerns on the procedural requirements.
Mr Nshindano was speaking today during the question and answer session when ECZ chairperson Justice Essau Chulu launched the online pre-registration of voters.
Mr Nshindano said the commission is committed to ensure the process to incorporate prisoners to vote in the 2021 general elections is done in a credible manner and said soon all political players will be engaged on the matter.