Press Release on Progress of the Polling Process




28 NOVEMBER 2014

Today, Friday, the 28th November, as we all should know the long awaited polling day for the Presidential and National Assembly elections has finally arrived. The purpose of this press release is to update the Nation on the progress of the polling process across the country on these historic Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Some of us rose up earlier than usual this morning to greet the day with much anticipation. As we are speaking right now, we are already half-way through the polling process. The first thing that struck me as I surveyed the polling stations around Windhoek, was the LONG, WINDING QUEUES of voters ready to cast their votes. It is a scene reminiscent of the first democratic elections held in 1989, when voters flocked to the polling stations in droves to form similar long, winding queues. We know that the voter turnout was over 90% in 1989, but I do not wish to speculate what the final voter turnout would be today, but suffice to say that, so far, it is encouraging indeed!

The second thing that struck me this morning and which pleased me most is fact that the people standing in the queues were patiently waiting for their turns to vote IN A PEACEFUL ATMOSPHERE and we would like to extend our thanks to the Namibian Police who continue to safeguard this important national process.

All in all, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) is very pleased with how the voting process is progressing. The Majority of the polling stations (98%) of them opened on time in all 14 regions. The ECN is happy to observe the long queues at the polling stations which speak volumes about the turnout of the electorate to take part in these historical elections. The ECN is also pleased to note that many young people have turned out in numbers to vote in this year’s elections. I hope we continue with this trend as the elections progress.

Having said that, the ECN has also experienced a few challenges during the early hours of polling in some regions, most of which are mostly operator errors. The following are some of the minor problems often cited:

  1. Operator errors with regard to the voter verification devices. As a sign of teething problems, some of the operators seem to have panicked as the voter verification devises were introduced for the very first time;
  2. Problems related to the preparations of the EVMS such as:
    1.  masked buttons of EVMs which should have been unmasked;
    2. Problems relating to time setting of EVM during the First Level Checks
    3. Technical such the Control Unit of the EVM not making a beep sound as it should when a transaction takes place;
    4. Pressing wrong buttons on the EVMs
  3. Voters taking selfies (photographs of themselves with cellular phones) whilst voting in the voting booth, thereby compromising the secret of the ballot.  

Last, it is clear that most of the above challenges can be attributed to human and operator errors and I am glad to inform you that from the updates the ECN has been receiving from the officials on the ground, the solution to the above problems have been fixed by our technical and support field staff and the voting process has picked up in all 14 regions of the country. With the exception of the above minor challenges, I would like to reassure the Nation and the public at large that, overall, the voting process is going extremely well and, at the end of the day, the ECN expects to deliver credible elections to the Namibian Nation.