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Zimbabwe Constitutional Referendum Turnout Sets Voters Record

  • Tatenda Gumbo

A report Tuesday compiled by the Election Resource Center in Zimbabwe said the more than three million people who voted in the constitutional referendum make that poll the highest voter turnout in the history of the country.

In the center’s comprehensive analysis of the referendum voter turnout entitled “Miracle Votes”, it attributes the high turnout to the lack of typical voting restrictions, which they say made it easier for people to come to the polls in large numbers.

Opponents of the draft constitution and others have alleged ballot stuffing, saying that the high turnout results do not align with media reports on referendum day saying the lines at polling centers were very short.

But the Election Resource Center said they have no evidence of any ballot stuffing or other fraudulent activities.

The center’s analysis found that the referendum vote saw increased turnout in Harare and three Mashonaland provinces, but low turnout in Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and North.

Harare voting increased by 200,000 to around 500,000 votes, but areas like Matabeleland South and North increased voters by margins of 20,000 voters.

Zimbabwe recorded nearly two million more voters this year at 3,316,082 than the 2000 referendum at 1,312,738 and 500,000 or more votes more than all other elections since 1980.

Election Resource Center director Tawanda Chimhini told VOA that, based on their analysis, the requirements for voters played a major role.

Nkosilathi Moyo, director of the Zimbabwe Organization for Youth in Politics, agreeds saying that fewer restrictions for voters made it easier for more people to exercise their vote, especially the youth, who he said have often been barred from registering to vote.
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