Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says it will not extend voter verification and registration exercise for the forthcoming by-elections despite some centers registering low turn out.
MEC’s Director, Media and Public Relations Officer said this is not a new trend as by-elections are always characterized by low turn out during the verification phase because voters do not see the importance of this phase.
But according to Mwafulirwa, the verification phase is important because the Commission to identify and address anomalies that might block one from voting.
“Turn out in some centres has been impressive. There were good numbers showing up, while in some centers the numbers were not as higher as expected. We know this has always characterized voter verification exercise during by-elections because people known that even if I don’t verify, I will still be able to vote. But to us it’s a very important exercise because it helps us to identify anomalies if there are any that could hinder somebody from voting on the polling day,” said Mwafulirwa.
Mwafulirwa however said all centers operate all entire 14 days of the registration and verification exercise without any interruptions.
MEC according to Mwafulirwa will release total number of registered voters for the by-elections when the Commission finishes updating their list.
“Looking way forward, we have got new registrants, so we will be bringing the data to the office and update the voter’s register which we are going to use on the polling day. When we add up the data together, the Commission will be releasing the total number of registered voters,” said Mwafulirwa.
Voter registration and verification exercise run from 22 February 2021 to 7 March 2021 in areas constituencies and wards where their legislators died and where court nullified 2019 parliamentary election results.
Meanwhile, the Commission has on Monday received nomination papers from aspiring candidates of 4 constituencies and 2 wards where their legislators and councilors passed. Giving an update, Mwafulirwa said pre-inspection exercise the Commission had on Sunday has helped the submission process to run smoothly.
MEC is expected to hold by-elections on 30 March in Karonga North West Constituency, Ntchisi North Constituency, Lilongwe Msinja South Constituency, Zomba Changalume Constituency, Liviridzi Ward in Balaka West Constituency, Chitakale Ward in Mulanje South Constituency, Nsanje Central constituency, Nsanje North constituency and Chikwawa East constituency.