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EC speaks on use of cameras, other recording devices at polling stations

The Commission says voters are not allowed to display their choice of candidate on polling day by taking a photograph, including a selfie, or recording a video of his/her marked ballot paper.
posted onJanuary 10, 2021
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The Electoral Commission (EC) has said that cameras and recording devices will be allowed at polling stations but their usage will be restricted.

For instance, according to the Commission, one can carry a phone to the station but they won’t be allowed to use it record or take photographs inside the polling stations (the cordoned-off area).

“Given the nature of our polling booth, which is an open basin, the presence of cameras inside polling stations may jeopardize the secrecy of the ballot, due to uncontrolled use of cameras and other recording devices,” Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi, the chairperson of EC, said in a statement.

“Please note that the secrecy of the ballot is aimed at ensuring that a vote is anonymous and cannot be traced back to the person who cast it. A secret ballot is, therefore, fundamental in achieving peaceful, free, and fair elections.”

The Commission says voters are not allowed to display their choice of candidate on polling day by taking a photograph, including a selfie, or recording a video of his/her marked ballot paper.

“Similarly, a voter must not display his/her choice of a candidate on polling day by marking his/her choice on the ballot paper in the open, outside the basin which has been provided for secrecy,” the chairperson said.

As per Article 68(1) of the Constitution, all public elections (Presidential, General Parliamentary and Local Government Councils) are supposed to be by secret ballot, save for Administrative Units (LC 1 and LC II) Elections.

According to Byabakama, media personnel who have been accredited to cover the elections will be permitted to access polling stations and may take photographs of the voting process, but outside the cordoned-off area (polling station) in a manner that protects the privacy of voters and the secrecy of the ballot.

“The counting of votes cast at each polling station will be conducted openly, and a voter or candidate’s agent may take photographs or recordings of the counting process and/or take a photograph or record the issued Declaration of Results Form,” he said.

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