Complexity of the elections to blame for spoilt votes

Written By Michael Maunda on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 | 11:39 PM


The complexity of the election is to blame for the high number of spoilt ballots, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Issack Hassan.

As at 10.10am, there were 246,672 spoilt and 104 disputed ballots out of the total 4.23 million presidential votes cast in 34.12 per cent of the polling centres across the country. The size of the spoilt and disputed ballots is however expected to increase as most polling centres continue to report their results to the national tallying centre.

For the first time, Kenyans were voting for six different elective positions namely the president, governor, senator, MP, woman representative and county assembly ward representative.

The presidential ballot, also, for the first time, had the pictures and names of the eight candidates while their running mates only had their names on the ballot.

“Due to the complexity of this election, there is higher number of spoilt votes than we would have wished to see. The IEBC will have a clear count of the spoilt votes at the end of the exercise,” Issack told a media briefing at the Bomas of Kenya where the IEBC’s National Election Centre is situated.

"The Commission has not yet done audit on rejected votes. May be the colour coding was not good, the green was not that strong," Hassan said in reference to the spoilt ballots."

At the same time, TNA’s Uhuru Kenyatta was leading the presidential tally of the provisional results with 2,197,340 votes against ODM’s Raila Odinga who had 1,6510,010 votes out of the 4,029,495 valid votes cast.

Hassan also appealed to the candidates, the parties and their supporters to avoid making premature conclusions since what is being relayed is only provisional, with the final tally expected once all the Returning Officers have filed their returns.

“With about 30 per cent of the polling stations, we want to emphasise the results so far are partial and provisional. We are expecting the Returning Officers to file their returns to the National Tallying Centre by this afternoon. We therefore continue to appeal for patience from the public, the political parties as well as the candidates,” Hassan said.

The IEBC chairman also called on the parties and the candidates to respect the Commission’s authority and accept the results that are announced.

“The IEBC continues to appeal to the parties, the candidates and their supporters to accept the authority of the Commission in conducting, facilitating and managing the elections. The Commission wishes to emphasize the integrity of the results and to accept the outcome,” Hassan said.

“We must acknowledge that in every contest, there are winners and losers. Once again, the Commission wishes to assure the public and the candidates that the Commission, in undertaking its taking constitutional mandate will count and tally every single vote.”

The electronic results transmission had last night suffered technical hitches which slowed down the transmission of results. However, Hassan assured the public that the challenge has been sorted out and the provisional results were streaming in normally.

“We would like to share that at 9.30pm last night, we experienced network slowdown but that has been fixed and the IEBC is confident that there will be successful completion of the counting. As you know there were a number of polling stations where voting continued to accommodate voters who were on the queue at the official closing time,” he said.

The Commission is holding a meeting with political party agents and ICT officers to explain to them the technicalities. Hassan also said the Commission had set up a team to investigate the ICT hitches.

IEBC Deputy CEO Wilson Shollei has also been appointed as the focal person to deal with party agents complaints.