One of the senior researchers at RAU, Tony Reeler, told SW Radio Africa: “The voters’ roll should not exceed the census. In no country do you have more voters than is clearly found on the ground.” In a preliminary report entitled: Key statistics from the June 2013 voters’ roll, RAU says there is a gross under registration of people under the age of 30, compared to the census, and that nearly two million young adults are not registered as voters. The research group said the “under-registration” in these age bands is concealed by the “over-registration” in all of the age bands from 30 years and above, with senior citizens assuming a 100 percent registration rate which the experts say is ‘improbable’. “The disenfranchisement of youth is an absolute scandal,” Reeler said:
“This is most marked in the 18 -19 age band, where only 8% are registered. In numerical terms, this means that a total of 1,920,424 people under the age of 30 ought to be registered as voters but are not. This is almost 29% of the total adult population of 6,647,779. “Since there are unregistered people in the other age bands, the total percentage of the entire adult population who ought to be registered as voters but are not, is considerably higher than 29%,” the report said.
Reeler said the audit also showed there are 63 constituencies out of 210 with more ‘registered’ voters than the number of inhabitants indicated by the recent population census. He added: “The third finding was to do with delimitation. According to the constitution, there shall be 210 constituencies in Zimbabwe and those constituencies in elections should have an equal number of voters in very constituency with a margin of about 20 percent above and below.” But he said there are 40 constituencies where that constitutional limitation requirement is violated. Reeler revealed the average should be 27,972 voter population in every constituencies.
He said they provided this independent analysis of the voters roll after a request by the MDC-T to do an audit. This was after the MDC-T had been given a PDF copy of the roll by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Reeler said ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau has already been handed the preliminary report, with recommendations and a request to pass it on to the political parties. RAU called on ZEC to undertake a careful audit of the voters’ roll before it is allowed to be part of the elections due on July 31st. “If you say there are 5.8 million on the voters’ roll that is the number of ballot papers you have to print. But if the ballot papers are an over estimate by several hundred thousand then you have many ballot papers floating around that are not going to be used, and this is clearly not good electoral practice,” Reeler added.