ELECTORAL PROCESS ACT
Arrangement of Sections
1. Short title
3. Principles of electoral system and process
4. Administration, enforcement and prosecution
5. Delegation of powers and duties by Commission
6. Delegation of powers and duties by Chief Electoral officer
REGISTRATION OF VOTERS AND REGISTER
7. Continuous voter registration
8. Qualification for registration as voter
9. Disqualification from registration as voter
10. De-registration of voter
11. Notification by registration officer
12. suspension of registration of voters
13. Provisional Register of Voters
14. Register of Voters
15. Application to change registration details
16. Amendments to Register of Voters
17. Objections concerning details in provisional Register of Voters
18. Publication of Register of Voters
19. Inspection of Register of Voters before election
20. Cut-off dates for registration of voters and Register of Voters
POLLING DISTRICTS AND BOUNDARIES
21. Establishment of polling districts
22. Criteria for determining polling district boundaries
23. Inspection and copies of maps of polling district
24. Establishment of polling station
25. Division of area of councils into wards
26. Election in newly created Council
27. Relocation of polling station in emergencies
NOMINATION FOR ELECTIONS
28. Election timetable
29. Electoral campaign
30. Nomination of presidential and vice-presidential candidates
31. Nomination for election in constituency
32. Conduct of local government elections
33. Nomination of candidates in district or ward
34. Restriction on nomination papers
35. Appointment of election agents and polling agents
36. Powers and duties of election or polling agents
37. Appointment of presiding officer
38. Powers and duties of presiding officer
39. Appointment of polling assistant
40. Powers and duties of polling assistant
41. Appointment of additional persons as election officers
42. General provisions concerning appointment of election officer
43. Immunity of election officer
44. Qualifications for voting
45. Identification of voter
46. One vote and secrecy
47. Disqualification from voting
48. Special vote
49. Election officers at polling stations
50. Hours of voting
51. Ballot paper
52. Design of ballot paper
53. Ballot boxes
54. Voting compartments
55. Conduct of general election
56. Postponement of voting at polling station
57. Postponement of by-election
58. Voting materials
59. Initial procedures
60. Voting procedure
61. Assistance to voters with disabilities
62. Issuance of new ballot paper
63. Spoilt ballot papers
64. Objections concerning voting
65. Sealing of full ballot boxes
66. Completion of ballot paper account form and sealing of voting materials
67. Place and time of counting of votes
68. Counting of votes and announcement of provisional results
69. Objections concerning sorting of ballot papers
70. Objections concerning counting of votes and announcement of provisional result
71. Procedure concerning provisional results and voting materials
72. Announcement and declaration of results by returning officer
73. Announcement and declaration of results in presidential election
74. Electronic transmission of results
75. Revoting at polling station
76. Correction of mistakes
OBSERVERS, MONITORS AND VOTER EDUCATION
77. Accreditation of observers and monitors
78. Powers and duties of accredited observers and monitors
79. Provision of voter education generally
80. Voter education
CORRUPT AND ILLEGAL PRACTICES AND OTHER ELECTION OFFENCES
83. Undue influence
84. Illegal practice of publishing false statements in respect of candidates
85. Illegal practice in respect of nomination of candidates
86. Illegal practices in respect of public meetings
87. Illegal practices relating to the poll
88. Penalty for illegal practices
89. Other election offences
90. Property in certain election material
91. Secrecy and penalty for breach of secrecy
92. Offences by election officers
93. Offences by printers and publishers
94. Obstruction of officer
95. Attempts to commit offence
96. Application to members and officers of Parliament
97. Avoidance of election
98. Presentation of election petition
99. Relief which may be claimed in election petition
100. Form and procedure for presentation of election petition
101. Duty of Registrar and designated person to make out list of election petition
102. Rules of practice and procedure, security for costs etc
103. Withdrawal of election petition
104. Substitution of new petitioners
105. Abatement of election petition
106. Trial of election petitions
108. Conclusion of trial of election petition
110. Code of conduct
111. Appeal against decision of registration officer
112. Powers to decide objections and appeals
113. Constitution of conflict management committees
114. Printing, manufacture, use, removal etc, of election materials
115. Ownership of voting and election material and disposal
116. Effect of certain irregularities
117. Inspection and copying of documents
118. When incapacity may be removed
119. Person not required to state how person voted
120. Evidence as to holding of election
121. Validation of certain documents
122. Powers of officer
123. Power of arrest
124. General penalty
126. Repeal of Act No. 12 of 2006
to provide for a comprehensive process for a general election; provide for the conduct of elections by the Electoral Commission of Zambia and empower the Commission to make regulations in matters relating to elections; provide for the registration of voters and the keeping of voters registers; prescribe the procedures for nominations for elections; provide for the role of presiding officers, election officers and conflict management officers; prescribe the procedure for voting during an election; provide for the accreditation and roles of observers and monitors; criminalise corrupt practices and other illegal practices related to elections and provide for penalties in connection with an election; provide for election petitions and the hearing and determination of applications relating to a general election; provide for voter education; prescribe the electoral code of conduct; repeal and replace the Electoral Act, 2006; and provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.
[7th June, 2016]
Act 35 of 2016.
This Act may be cited as the Electoral Process Act.
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
“area” has the meaning assigned to it in section 2 of the Local Government Act;
“ballot box” means a box prescribed by the Commission for the purpose of an election;
“ballot paper” means the document prescribed by the Commission in respect of an election;
“ballot paper account” means a document prescribed by the Commission for purposes of recording the ballot papers issued to a returning officer and completed by a presiding officer at the close of a poll;
“by-election” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“campaign material” means party or candidate manifestos, advertisements, billboards, posters, T-shirts, cloth or other material depicting colours regarding symbols, and other designs of a party or pictural images of a candidate;
“campaign period” means a period of three months before the holding of an election;
“candidate” means a person contesting a presidential, parliamentary or local government election;
“caricature” means the exaggerated imitation of a cartoon, effigy, picture, drawing or sketch of a person or literary style for comic or satirical effect;
“casual vacancy” means a vacancy in the office of councillor as specified in the Local Government Act;
“Chief Electoral Officer” has the meaning assigned to it in the Electoral Commission of Zambia Act, 2016;
“Code” means the Electoral Code of Conduct set out in the Schedule;
“Commission” means the Electoral Commission of Zambia established by the Constitution;
“conflict management officer” means an officer appointed as a conflict management officer in accordance with section 113;
“constituency” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“Constitutional Court” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“corrupt practice” means any conduct which is declared to be a corrupt practice in accordance with section 81;
“costs” includes charges and expenses;
“council” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“council chairperson” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“councillor” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“designated person” means a person or officer appointed by the Chief Justice for the purpose of receiving election petitions filed before a tribunal and attending to such other matters regarding petitions before a tribunal as are assigned to the Registrar under this Act;
“election” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“election agent” means a person appointed as an agent of a candidate for the purpose of an election and who is specified in the candidate’s nomination paper;
“election officer” means a person appointed by the Commission as—
(a) a registration officer;
(b) an assistant registration officer;
(c) a district electoral officer;
(d) a returning officer;
(e) a presiding officer;
(f) an assistant presiding officer; or
(g) a polling assistant,
and includes a person appointed to assist the Chief Electoral Officer in the performance of the functions of the Chief Electoral Officer as specified in this Act;
“election petition” means an election petition related to a presidential, parliamentary or local government election as specified in the Constitution;
“election timetable” means a timetable for an election published by the Commission in accordance with section 28;
“employee” has the meaning assigned to it in section 2 of the Local Government Act;
“general election” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“illegal practice” means an offence which is declared under this Act to be an illegal practice;
“interim period” means the period commencing at the commencement of this Act and expiring on such date as the President may prescribe by statutory order;
“media” includes publicly or privately operated print and electronic media;
“Member of Parliament” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“monitor” means a person accredited as such by the Commission;
“national registration card” means a national registration card issued under and in terms of the National Registration Act;
“national registration number” means the serial number inserted on a national registration card issued in accordance with the National Registration Act;
“nomination centre” means a place prescribed by the Commission as a nominating office;
“nomination day” means the day appointed by the Commission as the day on which a candidate files that candidate’s nomination paper with the Commission;
“nomination paper” means a document prescribed by the Commission for the purpose of a candidate registering that candidate’s intention to contest an election under this Act;
“observer” means a person accredited as such by the Commission;
“petitioner” in relation to an election petition, means a person who signs and presents an election petition under section 98, and includes a person substituted for a petitioner;
“political party” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“polling agent” means an agent appointed by a candidate in respect of a polling station;
“polling assistant” means a person appointed as polling assistant by the Commission;
“polling day” means—
(a) in relation to a general election, the day specified in accordance with the Constitution for the taking of the poll in a general election; and
(b) in relation to a by-election, a day appointed by the Commission for the taking of the poll in a by-election;
“polling district” means a district established by the Commission as a polling district under section 21;
“polling station” means a place established as a polling station by the Commission under section 24;
“presidential election” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“presiding officer” means a person appointed as a presiding officer by the Commission under section 37;
“public officer” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“Register of Voters” means the Register of Voters prepared and certified by the Commission under section 14;
“registration officer” means a person appointed as a registration officer by the Commission;
“Registrar” means the Chief Registrar of the High Court, and includes the Deputy Registrar, District Registrar and Assistant Registrar;
“respondent” means a person against whom an election petition is filed in accordance with section 98;
“Returning Officer” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
*“returning officer” has the meaning assigned to it in the Constitution;
“traditional leader” means a paramount chief, senior chief, chief or village headman;
“tribunal” means a local government elections tribunal established in accordance with Article 159 of the Constitution;
“voter” means a person who is registered as a voter and whose name appears in the Register of Voters;
“voter’s card” means a voter’s card prescribed and issued by the Commission; and
“ward” means any of the divisions into which a council area is divided under section 25.
Subject to the Constitution, the principles applied in the electoral system and process shall ensure the following—
(a) equal and universal suffrage;
(b) no discrimination based on gender or disability when providing electoral services;
(c) transparent and credible electoral process;
(d) no special privileges accorded to a political party or social group, except for persons with special needs;
(e) no impediments to lawful inclusion in the electoral register;
(f) impartial voter-education programmes;
(g) access to polling stations for representatives of political parties, accredited local or international election monitors, observers and the media;
(h) secrecy of the vote;
(i) design of the ballot paper that promotes easy use;
(f) transparent and secure ballot boxes;
(k) impartial assistance to voters at the polling station;
(l) transparent, accurate and reliable vote counting procedure;
(m) proper management of invalid ballot papers;
(n) precautionary measures for transporting of election materials;
(o) impartial protection of polling stations;
(p) established procedures for lodging and dealing with complaints;
(q) impartial handling of election complaints;
(r) impartial delimitation of electoral boundaries; and
(s) timely resolution of electoral disputes.
(1) This Act shall be administered and enforced by the Commission and the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority in the exercise of its functions under the Constitution and this Act.
(2) The Commission shall, in order to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Act, appoint such number of officers as it may consider necessary for purposes of this Act.
(3) An officer appointed pursuant to sub-section (2) shall be provided with a letter of appointment which shall be prima facie evidence of that person’s appointment.
(4) An officer shall, on demand by a person affected by the exercise of the powers of that officer under this Act, produce for inspection the letter referred to in sub-section (3).
(5) The Anti-Corruption Commission shall investigate and prosecute any corrupt practice committed under this Act in accordance with the Anti-Corruption Act, 2012.
(6) The Zambia Police Service shall enforce law and order at polling stations and undertake any criminal proceedings, subject to sub-section (2), in respect of an offence committed by any person in contravention of this Act.
(1) The Commission may—
(a) delegate any of its powers under this Act to a member, employee or officer of the Commission excluding the power to prescribe anything under this Act or make an appointment under this Act or any other written law; and
(b) instruct a member, employee or officer of the Commission to perform any of its duties under this Act or any other written law.
(2) A delegation or instruction made under sub-section (1)—
(a) shall be subject to any limitations and conditions that the Commission may impose; and
(b) does not prevent the Commission from exercising or performing the assigned power or duty.
(3) The Commission may, by statutory order, confer powers or impose duties on an officer or authority of the Government or council for the purpose of discharging its functions under this Act.
(1) The Chief Electoral Officer may—
(a) delegate any of the powers of the Chief Electoral Officer under this Act or any other law to an employee or officer of the Commission; or
(b) instruct an employee or officer of the Commission to perform any of the duties of the Chief Electoral Officer under this Act or any other written law.
(2) Sub-section (2) of section 5 with the necessary modification, shall apply to a delegation or instruction of the Chief Electoral Officer under sub-section (1).
REGISTRATION OF VOTERS AND REGISTERS
The Commission shall conduct a continuous registration of voters.
(1) A person qualifies for registration as a voter if that person—
(a) is a citizen of Zambia;
(b) has attained the age of 18 years; and
(c) is in possession of a national registration card.
(2) The Commission shall register a person as a voter as prescribed.
(3) A person who has been registered in the Register of Voters shall be issued with a voter’s card.
(4) A person shall not register as a voter in more than one constituency.
(1) The Commission shall not register a person as a voter if that person—
(a) is not a citizen of Zambia;
(b) is not in possession of a national registration card;
(c) suffers from a mental disability which makes the person unable to exercise their right to vote;
(d) is detained under the Criminal Procedure Code during the pleasure of the President;
(e) is disqualified from voting under section 47;
(f) is under a sentence of death imposed by a competent court, or a sentence of imprisonment imposed by a court or substituted by a competent authority for some other sentence imposed by that court; or
(g) does not qualify to be registered as a voter as may be prescribed.
(2) In this section, the reference to a sentence of imprisonment shall not be construed as including a sentence of imprisonment the execution of which is suspended or a sentence of imprisonment imposed in default of payment of a fine.
A registration officer shall de-register a voter if the registration officer is satisfied that the voter—
(a) does not qualify to be registered as a voter;
(b) no longer meets the qualifications for registration as specified in section 8;
(c) has been fraudulently registered; or
(d) obtained the registration through submission of false information or making of a misleading statement.
(1) A registration officer shall notify a person—
(a) whose registration as a voter has been refused;
(b) whose application to have a change of name or ordinary place of residence recorded has been refused;
(c) who has been disqualified from registration as a voter under section 10; or
(d) whose registration details have been changed.
(2) A notification given under sub-section (1) shall give reasons for the refusal or action taken.
(1) The Commission may suspend the registration of voters whenever an election is due for the purposes of the conduct of the election.
(2) The Commission shall, where it prescribes the polling day for a by-election, immediately suspend the registration of voters in the district in which the by-election is to take place until the by-election is concluded.
(1) The Commission shall establish a Provisional Register of Voters as prescribed.
(2) The Provisional Register of Voters shall include the details of persons entitled to vote in an election or referendum under this Act or the Referendum Act.
(1) The Commission shall compile and maintain the Register of Voters as prescribed.
(2) The Register of Voters shall include the details of persons entitled to vote in an election or referendum under this Act or the Referendum Act.
(3) The Register of Voters shall not preclude any person from voting in a referendum in accordance with the Constitution.
A voter whose name or ordinary place of residence has changed may apply, in the prescribed manner, to have that change recorded in the Register of Voters, except that a person shall not apply when a change of name is due to change in marital status.
(1) A registration officer shall—
(a) change the registration details of a voter if the registration officer is satisfied that the details of a voter as reflected in the Register of Voters are incorrect or have changed;
(b) add the name and other particulars of a voter resulting from a new registration, as prescribed; or
(c) delete the name of a voter who is deceased.
(2) A registration officer shall record, in the Register of Voters, a change in a polling district for which a person is registered as a voter if that person’s place of ordinary residence after a change in the boundaries of the polling district falls in another polling district.
(1) A person whose name appears in the Provisional Register of Voters may object to an error or omission regarding the person’s details, in the prescribed manner, within 90 days’ of the publication of the Provisional Register of Voters.
(2) A person may object to an error or omission to the exclusion or regarding the registration details of another person.
(3) A person who objects to another person’s registration details shall serve notice of the objection on that person.
(4) The Commission shall consider an objection to the Provisional Register of Voters within 14 days from the date the objection was made and shall notify the person who made the objection and the registration officer.
(5) A registration officer shall give effect to a decision of the Commission, made under this section, within three days of the decision.
(1) A copy of the Register of Voters, as it exists at any time, shall be available for inspection during office hours at the Commission’s head office.
(2) A person who requires a copy or extract of the Register of Voters may, upon payment of a prescribed fee, obtain the copy or extract which shall be certified by the Chief Electoral Officer.
(3) A document purporting to be a copy or extract of the Register of Voters, which is duly certified by the Chief Electoral Officer, shall be received in evidence in any legal proceedings as to the matters stated in the Register of Voters.
(1) The Register of Voters or the segments of the Register of Voters that shall be used for an election shall be the register certified for the purposes of that election.
(2) The Chief Electoral Officer shall certify the Register of Voters, or segments of the Register of Voters, and publish the Register of Voters or the segments of the Register of Voters and make the Register of Voters or the segments of the Register of Voters available for inspection at the following venues—
(a) at the Commission’s head office;
(b) at the polling station in each polling district; and
(c) at the office of each council.
(1) The Commission may prescribe cut-off dates with respect to the registration of voters and the compilation of the Register of Voters, including the date by which—
(a) a person may apply to be registered as a voter or change the person’s registration details;
(b) a registration officer shall give notice of the venue and dates on which the Provisional Register of Voters may be inspected;
(c) the Commission shall consider an objection made under section 17 and notify the objector and the registration officer and a person other than the objector whose name or registration details are involved; and
(d) a registration officer shall complete the compilation of the Register of Voters and publish it.
POLLING DISTRICTS AND BOUNDARIES
(1) The Commission shall—
(a) establish polling districts for the whole of the territory of the Republic;
(b) determine the boundaries of each polling district in accordance with the criteria provided in section 22; and
(c) keep a map of each district.
(2) The polling districts for an election shall be those polling districts which, on the date on which an election is called, are within the area in which the election is called.
The Commission shall determine the boundaries of a polling district by taking into account any factor within the proposed polling districts that could affect the free, fair and orderly conduct of elections, including—
(a) the availability of a suitable venue for a polling station;
(b) the number and distribution of eligible voters;
(c) the accessibility of a polling station to voters given—
(i) the radius of the proposed polling district;
(ii) the availability of transport;
(iii) telecommunications facilities; and
(iv) any geographical or physical feature that may impede access to the polling station;
(d) district and provincial boundaries; and
(e) cultural diversity.
(1) As soon as practicable after the polling districts have been established, the Chief Electoral Officer shall give notice that copies of the map of each polling district are available for inspection.
(2) The notice referred to in sub-section (1) shall be published in the Gazette and publicised in the media so as to ensure wide publicity of the maps.
(3) The notice shall state, and the Chief Electoral Officer shall ensure, that copies of—
(a) the maps are available for inspection at the Commission’s head office; and
(b) the maps of the polling districts are available for inspection at the office of the person administering the district.
(4) A person may inspect a copy of a map provided for in sub-section (1).
(5) The Chief Electoral Officer shall provide a certified copy of a map of a polling district to any person who pays the prescribed fee for that purpose.
(1) The Commission shall establish a polling station for an election, in each polling district, as the Commission may prescribe.
(2) The Commission shall, when determining the location of a polling station, take into account any factor that could affect the free, fair and orderly conduct of elections, including—
(a) the number and distribution of eligible voters in the polling districts;
(b) the availability of suitable venues for polling stations;
(c) the distance to be travelled to reach the polling station;
(d) access routes to the polling station;
(e) the availability of transport to the polling station;
(f) traffic density at or near the polling station;
(g) telecommunications facilities at the polling station;
(h) general facilities at the polling station;
(i) the safety and convenience of voters;
(j) any geographical or physical feature that may impede access to or at the polling station; and
(k) the accessibility of the polling station.
(3) The Commission may, before determining the location of a polling station, consult on the proposed location of that polling station with the council for the area in which that polling station shall fall.
(4) The Chief Electoral Officer shall, not later than the date stated in the election timetable, publicise a list containing the addresses of the established polling stations available for inspection.
(5) Section 23 shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to the inspection and obtaining of copies of the established polling stations.
(1) The Commission shall, after consultation with every council, by statutory order, divide the area of each council into wards, defining the boundaries of the wards by reference to polling districts, and assigning names to the wards and polling districts.
(2) The number of wards into which the area of a council is divided shall be equal to the number of elected councillors prescribed in respect of that council by the Minister under the Local Government Act.
(3) The Commission shall exercise its powers under this section so that each ward comprises one or more complete polling districts.
(4) Whenever the Minister alters the area of a council or the number of councillors of a council, the Commission shall, after consultation with such council, by statutory order, make such alterations to the boundaries of the wards of such council or to the division of the area of such council into wards as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of this section.
(5) Whenever the Commission is satisfied that there has been a material alteration in the number of registered voters in the area of a council or of any of the wards into which such area is divided, the Commission may, after consultation with the council concerned, exercise in respect of the area of that council or any part of the council the powers conferred by this section.
(1) The Commission may, by statutory order, whenever—
(a) a new council is established; or
(b) an alteration is made in the division of the area of an existing council into wards or in the definition of the boundaries of any ward,
direct that an ordinary election of councillors in every ward or in any particular ward of that council shall be held on such date as may be appointed by the statutory order.
(2) A statutory order made under this section shall specify the day or days on which, and the hours within which, returning officers may receive nominations of candidates for election in any ward to which such order relates.
(1) Despite section 20, the Commission may relocate a polling station if it is necessary to do so for the conduct of a free and fair election.
(2) The Chief Electoral Officer shall publicise the relocation of a polling station among voters in the polling district concerned.
NOMINATION FOR ELECTIONS
(1) Subject to the Constitution, the Commission shall, before the polling day—
(a) compile an election timetable for each election to provide for the following—
(i) the closing date of the registration of voters;
(ii) the dates for inspection of the Provisional Register of Voters;
(iii) the date and method for the submission of nominations;
(iv) the date and method for the acceptance of nominations;
(v) the opening and closing dates of the campaign period;
(vi) the date of the election and voting hours for the election;
(vii) any cut-off time for any act to be performed; and
(viii) any other relevant information; and
(b) publish the election timetable in the Gazette.
(2) The Commission may amend the election timetable by notice in the Gazette if—
(a) it considers it necessary for a free and fair election; or
(b) the polling day is postponed under section 56.
(3) The campaign period shall commence and close on such date as the Commission may determine.
(1) A public officer and public entity shall give equal treatment to candidates.
(2) A candidate and political party has the right to have the content of the candidate’s or political party’s campaign message reported in public media in a fair and balanced manner.
(3) A candidate or political party may, during an electoral campaign, publish or distribute campaign materials of such a nature and in such a manner as may be prescribed by the Commission.
(4) For the purposes of this section “campaign messages” means an activity, statement or any other form of expression aimed at promoting particular political ideas, policies and strategies for purposes of obtaining votes for a candidate or political party contesting an election.
(1) A candidate for election as President or Vice-President shall deliver to the Returning Officer—
(a) the candidate’s nomination paper;
(b) the prescribed election fee, except that a candidate for election as a Vice-President shall not pay the prescribed fee;
(c) the prescribed statutory declaration of the candidate’s assets and liabilities; and
(d) an affidavit attesting that the person is qualified for election as President or Vice-President, as the case may be.
(2) A person who swears or affirms falsely under this section commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term of seven years without the option of a fine.
(3) A candidate delivering a nomination paper, referred to in sub-section (1), to the Returning Officer shall be supported by 100 supporters from each Province who are registered voters in that Province.
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