‘Invest in parallel voter tabulation to prevent rigging’

Investing in parallel voter tabulation (PVT) processes is key towards safeguarding the people’s vote and enhancing electoral activity, an independent election watchdog said drawing from Zambia’s recent elections. The country’s elections have been marred with disputes, amid widespread claims of rigging and manipulation of the results.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) in its report after observing Zambia’s elections said the country can draw lessons from that country’s elections as it mentioned PVT as a necessary tool to prevent rigging.

A PVT, sometimes called a Quick Count, is a proven election observation methodology employed by nonpartisan citizen observers to independently verify official election results. A PVT is based on a systematic assessment of voting and counting processes.

“The time between the closing of polling stations and the announcement of results remains a very sensitive period within an electoral cycle, results need to be announced as soon as they are verified by the Commission to ease tensions that inevitably build up when the announcement of results is delayed,” the ZESN said,

“Political parties need to deploy their agents comprehensively so that their respective parties can comment authoritatively on electoral processes. PVT can contribute toward enhancing electoral integrity by providing quick updates on ongoing electoral processes and also by verifying the election result.”

Experts argue PVT’s are necessary in reducing uncertainty from the election environment by providing careful analysis of observer findings while increasing public confidence in well-run elections.

Opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa still disputes the 2018 presidential election outcome as rigged in favour of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In Zimbabwe, elections remain suspended as a Covid-19 preventive measure. “The elections in Zambia, as witnessed in other parts of the world, are yet again proof that it is possible to conduct elections in the middle of a serious pandemic. Democracy, not the COVID-19 must have a final say,” Zesn added.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology

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