Elderly people struggling with EVM use

28 Nov 2014 11:20am
KASOTE, 28 NOV (NAMPA) – The elderly appear to be struggling to use the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Many senior citizens, who are given special priority to cast their votes at polling stations due to their age, do not seems to have mastered the use of the EVMs and as a result they are being assisted by presiding officers at some polling station.
One of the elderly women Nangula Ihemba, who was assisted by a Presiding Officer to cast her vote at Kasote polling station in the Kavango East Constituency, told this news agency that she forgot how to use the machine the moment she got into the voting booth. She said she had to call on the assistance of the presiding officer as a result.
Tangwa Tweza polling Station Presiding Officer Michael Hamutenya, who has been assisting senior citizens, said he is only assisting them in the absence of their accompanying relatives, something which he is allowed to do.
He rubbished complaints that this assistance allows rooms for him to influence the elderly voters when they make their choice, saying he is only guiding them to press on a candidate and political party of their choice.
Some who spotted the elderly’s inability to use the EVMs however blamed the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) voter education department for not reaching out to especially the elderly.
The DTA of Namibia Secretary-General Vincent Kanyetu was not happy that polling officials were assisting the elderly to cast their votes as that gives room for undue influence.
He also blamed the ECN voter’s education programme for not conducting an extensive voter education on the use of the EVMs for the elderly.