We are now more than a month past the end of the 2020 voter registration exercise conducted by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) across the country to register eligible Zambians. CCMG commends the millions of Zambians who registered to vote and the ECZ for conducting a voter registration exercise which, from CCMG’s observers’ data, adhered closely to the voter registration procedures and had relatively few questionable registrations.
However, CCMG renews its call for the ECZ to release detailed data from the voter registration exercise –specifically, the number of voters registered per province, district, constituency, and registration centre, by gender, by age group and including data on registrants with disabilities.
The release of detailed voter registration data would demonstrate the ECZ’s commitment to transparency and build confidence in the register. CCMG notes that the ECZ released detailed information after each phase of the 2015-2016 registration exercise, with similar registration procedures in place at that time. In addition, the release of this information is in line with regional and international best practices by electoral commissions, with Malawi, Kenya and Nigeria among commissions who have shared such data in recent years.
CCMG also calls on the ECZ to allow an independent audit of the voter register.
While the voter registration inspection period is important in that it allows individuals to verify and correct their details at polling stations, it is not a substitute for an independent audit, which can provide a nationwide assessment of the register. An audit by a trusted independent group would enhance the transparency of the voter registration exercise and build public confidence in the electoral process. Other electoral commissions in Africa and globally have allowed independent voter register audits, including in Zimbabwe and Cote d’Ivoire.
“Disaggregated registration data was provided after each phase of the registration process in 2015-2016. With voter registration over for more than a month, there should be no further delay in providing this information to the public as failure to release the data soon would represent a step backwards from the 2016 electoral process. Releasing the data will help address any questions the public and stakeholders have about the register, as will an independent voter register audit by a trusted group. We urge ECZ to demonstrate its commitment to transparency by releasing the disaggregated data and allowing an independent voter register audit. There is precedent from election commissions for both in our region and more widely in Africa.”
CCMG asks ECZ to publish the 2021 electoral calendar.
CCMG also calls on the ECZ to immediately publish the 2021 Elections Calendar following adjustments to dates for key electoral processes as per the ECZ’s 15 December 2020 press briefing. It is critical at this time that the electoral calendar is publicized to allow stakeholders and the general public to plan and engage effectively at every stage of the electoral process.
For findings and recommendations related to the general voter registration environment, please see the full CCMG report available at ccmgzambia.org.