Verifying machine delays voting at Gobabis

28 Nov 2014 12:20pm
GOBABIS, 28 NOV (NAMPA) - The use of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) for the first time in the Presidential and National Assembly elections has put tremendous strain on presiding and polling officers.
Several polling and presiding officers that Nampa spoke to in the Omaheke Region on Friday noted that the introduction of the EVMs has put tremendous pressure on them.
At least three polling stations in the Omaheke Region reported experiencing problems with the EVMs, with many of the complaints centred on the voters’ card verifying modem that seems not to work properly.
The voter's card verifying device scans the voter's card to ascertain that its bearer is an authentic registered voter.
Due to the malfunctioning of this device, many polling officers are left to rely on the manual voter's roll to verify registration status of voters.
It also emerged that many party agents fielded at some polling stations were not properly trained on the use of EVMs, making their observation of the voting process difficult.
The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) Regional Coordinator for Omaheke, Simon Kangootui confirmed the challenges experienced by polling and presiding officers.
He however noted that most of the problems with EVMs will be done away with as the day progresses.
Kangootui said, unlike in previous elections were the Returning Officers and Regional Coordinators were given more responsibility during elections, most of the work is this time around being done at polling station level with the use of EVMs.
“Presiding and polling officers are panicking because they know that most of their responsibility lies with them in making sure that the process remains free and transparent. We are aware of the challenges currently experienced and we are looking at them. As far as I am concerned, most of these problems will cancel themselves out as the day grows older,” he said.
Omaheke has the lowest number of registered voters, with 41 698 voters having register to cast their vote.