Malawi Electoral Commission clarifies on voter certificates for 2019

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has come out in the open to clarify that it will still issue voter certificates for voters in 2019 despite the country embarking on a national identity card issuance campaign.


The media had reported on Tuesday, 14 July, 2016 that the national Identity cards to be issued by the National Registration Bureau will be used for voting and that the electoral body will not issue any certificate.

In a statement issued by Chief Elections Officer, Willie Kalonga informs all stakeholders that for 2019 elections MEC will still issue voter certificates and they will remain the sole document for identification of voters during polling.

Kalonga says despite the national registration exercise by NRB, the MEC will still conduct its own voter registration to come up with the voters roll which helps in planning for logistics like number of ballot papers for each polling station.

“Voting is not compulsory in Malawi and people have to express their intention to vote by registering with MEC at a centre where they wish to cast their vote. This can be a centre nearest to their work place, where they conduct business, they stay or they were born,” he explains in the statement.

Kalonga further says that NRB will register everyone from16 years but MEC will only be interested in those who will have attained the voting age of 18 by the polling day.

However, the MEC boss says that they national ID will be a very crucial document in identification of eligible registrants as only citizens will be holders.

“This will help curb cases whereby people have complained that foreigners and the underage have been registering as voters because of weaknesses in the identification process.

“During voter registration to be conducted by MEC, registrants will be required to bring their National IDs issued by the NRB for identification,” he said.

Kalonga says the MEC registration staff will register the person as a voter for that centre and also copy the National ID details so that they can be used to extrapolate the biometric details from the NRB database to build the voters roll.

“This collaboration with the NRB will greatly reduce the volume of work and costs that would have been incurred if we were to conduct the whole biometric voter registration process on our own,” he said.

According to the statement, the collaboration between MEC and NRB was mooted to harness synergies as the electoral body wanted to conduct biometric voter registration and the registration bureau has embarked on a nationwide civil registration exercise.

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