First you registered, and then you exercised your right to vote. Well done in participating in the most vital and basic form of democracy! Zimbabwe salutes you!

But what happens now? Well, once Polling Stations close the presiding officer closes the ballot boxes and seals them. Unused ballot papers, counterfoils and unused ballot books and papers, and counterfoils of spoilt papers are sealed and packaged separately.

The presiding officer then opens the ballot boxes and counts the votes in each ballot box separately. The presiding officer can reject any vote which does not bear his/her official seal, or a ballot that has not been marked, or a ballot which does not clearly indicate which candidate was being voted for.

Once this is complete, the total number of votes for each candidate in each election is recorded on polling station returns and signed by all present.

The ballots are then returned to the ballot boxes and the boxes and all other election material is sealed again.

All Polling Station representatives present place their seal/signature on the boxes again.

A copy of the polling station return is pasted on the outside of a polling station and must be in a place which is accessible to, and can be seen clearly by the public.

Quite an ordeal, don’t you think? Of course, but it is a necessary practice to ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible and the process doesn’t stop there.

Everything is then sent to the Ward Centre, where ward election officers verify and collate the polling-station returns. Postal and special votes are also counted for the specific ward.

All the votes are tallied together and entered into a ward return. A copy of the ward return, signed by all Polling Station representatives present, must be displayed outside the ward centre in a place accessible to, and which can be seen by, the public.

The ward return is then transmitted to the constituency centre.

The same process is repeated at the constituency centre, then the provincial command centre, and the national command centre.

Once it is complete, winning candidates for local council are announced at the ward centre; winning candidates for National Assembly are announced at the constituency centre.

The announcement of the presidential election result is done by the Chairperson of ZEC or, in her absence, the Deputy Chairperson, or another ZEC Commissioner. Note that no other person can declare a presidential candidate duly elected. However in terms of the law any person can reveal and/or use results which have been displayed outside polling stations and other centres.

The announcement of the presidential election result has been scheduled for 4 August 2018.

Source: Kubatana