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Swaziland Voter Registration : Elections & Boundaries Commission

Organisation : Elections & Boundaries Commission
Facility : Voter Registration
Country : Swaziland

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Voter Registration :
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a)Civic and voter Education :
** Civic and voter education is a very important process in preparing the voter to take part in elections from an informed position.
** It enhances the voter’s decision in rightly choosing a candidate of his or her choice.
** There is evidenced by the fact that Section 90 (7) (b) of the Constitution requires the Commission to “facilitate civic or voter education as may be necessary in between elections.”
** With this fact in mind, The Commission has come up with various civic and voter education strategies which involved visiting all constituencies and chiefdoms in the country.
** There are also meetings with various collaborating partners including non-government organizations so as to ensure that the civic and voter education exercise is carried through harmoniously.
** There are on going radio and television programmes to enable the public to know what takes place on the various aspects of the election exercise

b) Voter Registration :
** This stage of the election process allows for the registration of voters for purposes of electing Members of Parliament, Constituency Headman (Indvuna) and Inkhundla Executive Member (Bucopho).
** The registration process takes place at the chiefdoms and other designated places and the dates for the registration are announced by the Commission.
** All along, we have been using the once off registration system.
** We are now working towards adopting the continuous voter registration system.
** On the day of registration, the voter must bring some form of identification.
** In the event he or she does not have one, he or she may still register in the presence of the Competent Witnesses as defined in the Voter Registration Act.
** The Commission is using the Optimal Mark Recognition (OMR) System.
** Under it, the voter is identified by means of an identity card, a photograph and a thumbprint.
** The system has enhanced the voter participation in that three hundred and fifty thousand out of a voter population of four hundred thousand registered in this year’s election.
** Once the registration is completed, the data obtained from the registration centres is then used as a basis for preparing the draft voters’ roll.

c) Nomination Stage :
** Following the voter registration process and the preparation of the voters’ roll, a writ is then issued by the Head of State indicating dates for nominations, primary elections, campaign and secondary elections.
** Nominations take place at the chiefdoms.
** This is contained in the Elections Act, 2013.
** On the day of nomination, the name of the nominee is raised by a show of hand and the nominee is given an opportunity to indicate whether he or she accepts the nomination.
** If he or she accepts it, he or she must be supported by at least ten members of that chiefdom.
** The nominations are for the position of Member of Parliament, Constituency Headman (Indvuna) and the Constituency Executive Committee (Bucopho).
** The minimum number of nominees is three and the maximum is twenty.
** The nomination process is a simple stage of the election in that it takes place in the open, persons are nominated by a show of hand and the nomination is done by the community.
** The community is given the rare opportunity to show who they entrust with power.
** Those nominated then contest elections at primary level.

d) Primary Elections :
** Primary Elections also take place at the chiefdom level.
** It is by secret ballot.
** During the Primary Elections, the voters are given an opportunity to elect the member of the executive committee (Bucopho) for that particular chiefdom.
** Aspiring Members of Parliament and the Constituency Headman are also elected from each chiefdom.
** At the end of the Primary Elections, there should be one candidate for the position of the Member of Parliament and one for the position of the Constituency Headman who are going to contest elections at secondary level.
** The election for the Executive Committee Member (Bucopho) goes up to the primary level.

e) Campaign :
** Between primary and secondary elections, candidates are given an opportunity to campaign in the various constituencies.

f) The Secondary Elections :
** It takes place at the various constituencies. All the nominees at chiefdom level contest elections at constituency level.
** The nominees with majority votes become the winners and they become Members of Parliament or Constituency Headman.
** That completes the elections process at the chiefdom and constituency levels

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