KENYA POLLS: Rejected votes worrying, says Hassan

Tuesday March 5 2013

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission described as “worrying” and promised to investigate the large number of votes that have been rejected in the results of the elections announced so far.

IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan said an audit would be carried out at the end of the current process to find out why so many voters made so many mistakes during voting.

With about 4.8 million votes counted at 11 a.m., the time of the IEBC’s second press conference since the end of voting, 284,232 votes had been rejected.

To get that number in context, these were more than double the 125,827 cast for Amani Coalition’s presidential candidate, Musalia Mudavadi, and more than the combined total for him and all other candidates with less than him.

With only two choices to make at the August 2010 referendum on the Constitution, there were 218,633 spoilt votes.

“It is true it is quite a big number,” said Mr Hassan “These are basically the votes which have been cast and which are now rejected…either because they were wrongly marked.”


He said during the simulation exercise, the commission noted that there were places where voters put the ballot in the wrong box.

“The colour coding was not as good as it should have been. The green was not green enough, maybe the blue should have been more blue, maybe the colours should have been stronger,” said Mr Hassan.

He said this could also be attributed to the “complexity of this election”, where voters were electing six candidates- County ward representatives, Members of the National Assembly, Women representatives at the National Assembly, Senators, Governors and the President.

He said a better explanation could be arrived at after the audit at the conclusion of the elections and with the input of the officers who actually supervised the poll.

A vote is rejected if the mark on it cuts across so many candidates it is impossible to tell who the voter wanted to choose.

It is also categorised as rejected if it is put in the wrong box.

Some voters are also likely to have put a tick in one box and a cross in another while others write their names in a vain attempt to mark their role in making history. All these end up spoilt.

At the polling station, party agents are required to agree on each vote marked as rejected, and that figure is recorded and transmitted together with the results of valid votes.

Article 138 (4) of the Constitution states that: A candidate shall be declared elected as President if the candidate receives—(a) more than half of all the votes cast in the election; and (b) at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in each of more than half of the counties.