, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has stepped up its voter education efforts with only a little over two weeks left to go before the March 4 general election.
The IEBC is particularly keen to educate the public on the voting process as it will be the first time in Kenya’s history that voters will cast ballots for six and not three elective posts.
On the voting day the 24,616 polling stations gazetted by the IEBC will be opened from 6am to 5pm but voters on the queue by the time the polling stations close will be accorded the opportunity to cast their ballot.
You will only be allowed to cast your vote at the polling centre you specified when registering as a voter.
The polling stations will be manned by presiding officers who will have deputies to assist them. You can also expect to see voting clerks, party agents, election observers and journalists at the polling stations and they should bear the necessary accreditation.
When it is your turn to vote, the first thing the voting clerks will do is to check you left pinkie for an ink mark which would indicate you have already cast your vote.
Should your left pinkie not have an ink mark you will be required to present your identification card (ID) or passport depending on which of the two you used to register as a voter.
In a bid to ensure you are not a ‘dead voter’, you will also be required to place a finger on an Electronic Voter Identification Device (EVID) to conclude the identification part of the voting process.
Once your identity is confirmed, a clerk will call out your name just to ensure you are indeed who you say you are and cross your name off the voter register.
If this process should go off without a hitch you will be issued with six ballot papers and you should confirm that they are stamped on the back because ballot papers without this impression will not be counted.
One clerk will hand you a beige coloured ballot paper for the County Ward Assembly representative and a blue one for the gubernatorial seat.
A second clerk will hand you a green ballot paper with the National Assembly representative choices and a purple one for the County Women’s Representative.
A third and final clerk will hand you a white ballot paper with the presidential candidate options on it and a yellow one for the senatorial post.
Apart from bearing party or independent candidate symbols, the ballot papers will also have the names and images of the candidates on them, and a box for you to make your mark.
The presidential and gubernatorial ballot papers will also bear the names of the candidates’ running mates.
You can use a tick, an ‘x’ or a dot to make your mark in the box allocated to your candidate of choice. You need to be careful not to mark two or more boxes and make sure your mark does not cross over to another candidate’s box.
Once you have finished marking the ballot papers behind a voting screen you will cast each ballot paper in a different ballot box corresponding to the colour of the ballot paper – there will therefore be six ballot boxes.
The ballot boxes will be transparent but their lids will be coloured; you will insert the white ballot paper with your vote for president in the slot of the ballot box with a white lid, the green ballot paper will go in the ballot box with the green lid and you will do the same with the remaining four ballot papers.
Having successfully cast your ballots, the left pinkie will be marked in indelible ink and you can be on your way to wait for the results of the voting exercise.
Next, Capital FM will explain to you how your votes will be tallied for a winner to be determined.