Voters’ education is priority: ECN director

SWAKOPMUND; A few voters had difficulties operating the electronic voting machines (EVMs) during the Swakopmund Constituency by-election on Friday.

Acknowledging that some people still found it hard to use the EVMs, Director of Elections Paul Isaak told Nampa on Friday that his team assisted such voters and made sure that nobody left the booth without voting.

“Voter education is a priority to us; we have close to 200 voter education officials across the country – the biggest number of staff at the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN). With that, we managed to educate the citizens on how to use the machines and we will continue to do so,” he said.

The EVMs were used before in the general elections and other by-elections last year.

“This is why you see that many people had no problem using them, as it was the case during the machines’ introduction,” he told this agency.

Asked about the language barrier that at times occurred between the voters and ECN staff at polling stations because some voters do not speak the official English language or the more common Afrikaans language, he said: “We try our best to help translate; this is not a problem as we have a variety of staff who speak different languages.”

About voter verification devices that sometimes failed to read the fingerprints of voters to reveal their identification details, the director said that is not a problem either as officials can use the manual system to verify voter details.

Also approached for comment, the ECN’s returning officer for the Swakopmund Constituency, Johannes Kashindinge Nghipuilepo said the by-election provided employment to 102 people.

“These are experienced persons who worked in the previous elections and were just called again to assist this time around,” he said.

The by-election was won by Swakopmund Mayor Juuso Kambueshe from the Swapo Party with 2 621 votes out of 4 238 votes cast.

A total of 29 400 voters were registered to vote in that constituency.