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Uganda Decides; Breaking Down Polling Day Procedures

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Upon arrival at the polling station, voters are expected to join a queue and access a handwashing sanitizing zone. From here, they will go to the Biometric Voter Verification Kit (BVVK) table for verification. This process involves confirming if the person is of voting age and that their names appear on the voter's register.
Plastic Ballot boxes

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Ugandan voters will to through 12 procedures before leaving the polling station as they vote for a President and Members of Parliament on Thursday, January 14.

According to the Electoral Commission, the Polling Stations will be opened at 7 a.m. in the presence of at least 10 voters, polling officials and agents of each of the candidates. Upon arrival at the polling station, voters are expected to join a queue and access a handwashing sanitizing zone. From here, they will go to the Biometric Voter Verification Kit (BVVK) table for verification. This process involves confirming if the person is of voting age and that their names appear on the voter's register.

It is after this process that they will be given a ballot paper with a list of presidential candidates. There are eleven candidates in the race this year, the highest number in Uganda’s history.  With the ballot paper, the voter will proceed to a basin and choose their presidential candidate with either a tick or use a thumbprint and then fold the ballot paper before proceeding to cast it in a sealed ballot box.

This marks the first round of activity. The second is a repeat of the process, and it starts with the polling Assistant (PA) issuing the ballot paper in the presence of polling agents. 

The voter will then get a ballot paper with all directly elected members of parliament for that constituency, get to another basin and tick their candidate before folding the ballot paper and casting it in a sealed ballot box.  The voter will then proceed to vote the Woman Member of Parliament at another point within the polling station.  Here the voter will find another polling Assistant with agents of the candidates and receive the last ballot paper for the day, on which all candidates contesting for the position will be printed.

With this ballot box, they will again proceed to the basin, tick their candidate and then cast the ballot into the sealed ballot box for Woman Member of Parliament candidates.  

The voter will then go to a table where a polling Assistant will be located to sign them out of the polling station. The process ends with indelible ink, stained on the before going back to the hand sanitizing and washing centre before getting out of the polling station.    

After polling, they can observe at a distance of not less than 200 meters. According, to Paul Bukenya, the Electoral Commission spokesperson, to maintain order, voters are expected to leave after casting their ballot.   

//Cue in; “when you go…  

Cue out…to intimidate them.”//    

Doreen Musiime, the Kampala Central Assistant Election Administrator says all polling officials have been trained before their deployment. 

//Cue in; “we have done… 

Cue out…for COVID 19.”//    

However, several voters have expressed ignorance about the voting procedures, while some still have no idea about their voter locations.  Simon Kaweesi, a voter from Rubaga division, says he has never been educated about the voting process.    

//Cue in; “teli yali azeemu…  

Cue out …baba bazilya ezo.”// 

Sarah Musubika, a resident of Kawempe division says that apart from knowing the voting day for presidents, she does not know much of what will happen thereafter.   

//Cue in; “I don’t know… 

Cue out…on the village.”//    

The polling station will also publish general procedures for the election day process at polling stations including the setting up and supplying of polling stations. The relevant information includes the hours of operation, lay-out inside the polling station, number of ballot boxes, the flow of voters and necessary supply of voting materials like ballots and indelible ink.

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