The government of Zimbabwe is conducting a nationwide biometric voter registration drive ahead of its political reorganization later this year. The drive will help determine the number of registered voters in each province, which will in turn be used to map out the 210 constituencies in the National Assembly. Constituencies with smaller populations may be merged with one another, while those with higher populations may be split in two.
The delimitation process is detailed in Zimbabwe’s constitution, and will be carried out in August in preparation for the country’s harmonized election in 2023. The Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) is spearheading the registration movement, and has dispatched 1,885 employees to register residents at 2,713 voter registration centers all over the country. The registration campaign will run until April 30, and is the second registration push of the year following an earlier blitz that ran throughout the month of February.
ZEC currently maintains 73 brick-and-mortar registration centers. The rest of the registration sites are being staffed by mobile registration teams, who are moving from one site to the next based on the demand for their services within a given constituency.
The Commission is hoping that the mobile teams will increase turnout, especially in rural areas where people do not have easy access to a more permanent elections office. The country’s Matabeleland provinces would stand to lose constituencies if the current numbers hold, while provinces in the northern parts of the country would gain seats in the National Assembly.
Those who registered to vote ahead of Zimbabwe’s 2018 election do not need to do so again. Anyone who is signing up for the first time must present either a passport or a national identity card. In that regard, Zimbabwe is conducting a separate blitz to encourage people to sign up for the country’s national identity program.
Zimbabwe decided to move forward with biometric voter registration in 2016, and used Ipsidy (now AuthID.ai) technology to deduplicate its voter rolls prior to the election in 2018. The country has also used biometric technology to remove thousands of ghost workers from the government payroll records.
April 12, 2022 – by Eric Weiss