KAMPALA – The Chairman Electoral Commission (EC) Justice Simon Byabakama has on Wednesday, August 28 revealed that only voters registered with the electoral commission shall be allowed to vote in the forthcoming elections in 2021.
While addressing the media at the launch to reorganize polling stations held at EC headquarters, Justice Byakabakama said having a national identity card is everyone’s right however if they want to vote they should appear on the National Voters Register (NVR).
“It is compulsory for Ugandans to register for national identity cards but voting is optional… If you are not on the National Voters Register, even if you have a national identity card, you will not be allowed to vote,” Justice Byabakama noted.
He said the most important record for voting is the NVR and he encouraged Ugandans to go ahead and register with National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) for national IDs.
“People should continue registering for national IDs because it is lawfully right, however, those who are interested in voting should register with the electoral commission,” he said.
Adding that those with National Identification Numbers (NIN) and lack national IDs but are registered in the NVR shall vote.
“Because there are issues with technology that delay the release of the Ids, we might reach the voting time as some people have not got their ID’s and yet they are registered with the EC and so by law, they can use their NIN. They will be allowed to vote,” said Justice Byabakama.
Asked the reason for reorganizing polling stations, Justice Byabakama said the sensitisation campaign is necessary because ever since the last elections, the government created new districts, local counsels, municipalities among others.
“As the EC, it is our role to create polling stations in these newly created areas and in order to do this, we need to work with people in these areas since they know their areas better and our intention is to make it easy for voters to locate their polling station easily,” Mr Justice Byabakama noted.
He added that there could be an increase in population in the new areas and others who just turned 18 years of age and thus the need to create other polling stations.
“If a polling station has many voters, we need to divide them through creating new ones because in the village a polling station is estimated to have 900 voters and 1000 in the city,” said Justice Byabakama.
Justice Byabakama urged Ugandans to understand and engage in the voting process because it is their right.
The Electoral Commission in accordance with Section 12 (1) (d) and Section 33 of the Electoral Commission Act as well as Section 30 (1) of the Presidential Election Act 2005, is mandated to establish and operate polling stations within in each Parish or Ward of every Electoral District.