Reasons Why IEBC Will Deliver Free and Fair Elections in Kenya
The Kenya Electoral body IEBC has come out to dispel the fears in us Kenyans that we may not get free and fair elections in Kenya.
Among the reasons that IEBC has given as to why Kenyans are very jittery about the credibility of the August 8, 2017 general elections is that people are not familiar with this new voting system, the modus operandi of the IEBC secretariat and what is required of us Kenyans during voting according to the new electoral laws in Kenya.
I will give the step by step procedure of what will happen before, during and after the voting day upto the point when the final presidential tally will be announced by the IEBC Chairman.
The smooth flow of these steps will depend on whether you are a valid registered voter in Kenya and you verified your registration during the exercise that took place in May and June 2017.
Upto Monday 7th August, 2017, every voter is advised to visit the polling center where they intend to vote. Here they will look for their names that will be pinned on each room that will act as a polling station. The names will be listed alphabetically according to the first name (The first name as it appears on your ID card or Passport e.g James, John, Mary). You will realize that no polling station has more than 700 voters.
Voters can still verify through sending SMS with your ID no. to 70000 or through the IEBC Website
What is the difference between a polling center and a polling station? I will use an example. For elections in Kenya, a Polling Center is a School and a Polling Station is the various rooms or streams where actual voting will happen.
If they find their names then they will wait for August 8th, 2017 for the actual voting. If their names are missing then they can visit the Constituency IEBC Office for help.
On 8th August, 2017, every registered voter should go to their respective polling centers to vote. The polling Stations will be opened between 6.00 am and 5.00 pm. For elections in Kenya, every person is required to
- Have the original identification Document they used to register as a voter. NO OTHER document will be accepted. If your ID or passport is lost then too bad. Wait for 2022 to exercise your right. Even if you have a photocopy or a Police Abstract, they will not help. If your Passport is expired, no worry, you will be allowed to vote.
- Wear clothes that do not campaign for any party or candidate.
- Present themselves personally. No proxies allowed.
- If you need help during voting, you should be accompanied by a person of your choice who is above 18 years of age.
Once you arrive at the polling center, you will meet a Queuing Clerk you will request you for your ID Card in order to guide you on which polling station or stream or room you will cast your votes.
Once you find your polling station queue behind the others. The elderly, disabled and pregnant people will be allowed to jump the queue. Since each polling station will not have more than 700 people, the queues will not be that long as experienced in previous elections in Kenya.
When you now enter the voting room first you will be welcomed by IEBC clerk no. 1 who will request for you ID card. He/she will read your name aloud and you will respond in kind.
Clerk no.2 will request you to place your finger on the IEBC KIEMS Kit and your details will be revealed.
If your details are not found, your ID will be used to identify you. When your details emerge, you will be allowed to vote but you will need to fill a Form 32a for accountability purposes. If your details are not found then try your luck in 2022. If you are identified to be a voter in a different station or center, you will be advised so.
If you are trying to vote twice, a warning beep will go off and law enforcers will deal with you according to the law.
Clerk no. 3 will issue you with 2 ballot papers. The Presidential one (White) and the Member of Parliament one (Green). Clerk no. 4 will give you the MCA ballot paper (Badge colour or light brown) and Senator one (Yellow). Clerk no. 5 will give you Women Rep one (Purple) and Governor one (Blue).
Make sure that the Clerks stamps them with the IEBC stamp. The clerks will also fold the ballot papers for you just to guide you on how you will fold it after you mark them.
Go to the booth and mark the ballot papers with either a tick (✔), an (X) or a finger print on the box next to the candidate of your choice. For elections in Kenya, no other mark or symbol will be allowed. Any ballot marked with a different mark will be termed as a rejected vote.
The symbols should be marked only inside the boxes. If you realize that you have messed with the ballot paper you can request for another one and make sure the spoilt ballot is stamped as Spoilt Vote with an IEBC stamp.
Incase you need help call the IEBC clerk or presiding officer.
After you finish marking, put the ballots in their respective boxes. The boxes are covered by lids of the same colour as those of the ballot papers. So for the white presidential ballot paper put it inside the box with a white lid and so on and so forth. The ballot boxes will also be labeled as either “President”, “Member of National Assembly” – MP, “Member of County Assembly” – MCA, “Senator”, “County Women Member of National Assembly” – Women rep, and Finally “Governor”.
If you by mistake put a presidential ballot paper inside the MPs ballot box then that vote will become a stray vote. It cannot be removed from the ballot box. So be very careful at this point.
After casting your ballot go to clerk and you will be given your ID card and have your left pinky finger marked with an indelible ink. If you had a person to help you, they will also be marked on the left thumb so that they don’t help another person.
Leave the polling station and go home and wait for the results to be announced. For elections in Kenya, no one will be allowed to loiter around the polling center until voting, counting, tallying and announcement of results is over.