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Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Secures $11 Million For Special Vote

ZEC Chairperson Justice Rita Makarau.
Harare has released $11 million dollars to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for special voting, set for July 14 and 15 at 209 polling stations across the country.

And for the first time in Zimbabwe’s history soldiers, police and other state security officers catered for by the special vote will not vote in the barracks.

Special voting, conducted at least 16 days before the ordinary day of polling, allows people who will be on elections duty to cast their ballots in advance.

These include members of the uniformed forces and election officials. Postal voting for those working at Zimbabwe’s embassies is also done on the same day.

Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau told journalists Monday in Harare that of the 120,000 application forms issued for special voting, 87,316 had been returned to ZEC with police officers accounting for 69,222, 15 954 for ZEC officials, the Zimbabwe Prison Services 2,000 and 140 from the Zimbabwe National Army.

She said ZEC is now processing the applications checking whether they meet requirements for the special voting.

Justice Makarau said some of the application will be rejected, adding due to logistical problems the commission may not be able to post all those rejected outside polling stations.

She said ballot papers will be processed and sent to their respective wards where they will be counted together with those cast July 31.

Asked why it takes two days for the special vote to be conducted and just one day for the general election, Makarau said that’s what the law dictated.

Makarau said it was unfortunate that journalists as well as commissioners were not part of those allowed by the law to take part in the special vote.

The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists has threatened legal action against the elections body for denying journalists a chance to cast their ballots early.

Meanwhile the mobile voter registration exercise ends Tuesday and the voter’s roll for the 2013 polls will close Wednesday.

Justice Makarau said ZEC is waiting for an update from the Registrar General’s office on the latest figures of new voters. She said as at June 30 the country’s voting population was slightly above six million.

Zimbabweans go to the polls July 31 to elect leaders who will replace the shaky government of national unity between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.