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6,000 Invalid Votes Traced in Districts Where EC Recorded None

But Declaration Forms from the same districts that were collected by National Unity Platform (NUP) agents all have a collection of invalid votes. Our tally, based on the figures on the declaration forms shows that there were 6,443 invalid votes from the three districts.
19 Feb 2021 14:58
Invalid votes
When the Electoral Commission (EC) released tally sheets for January 14, 2021, presidential election results, there was an odd pattern. There were no invalid votes in the districts of Katakwi, Budaka and Pakwach.

But Declaration Forms from the same districts that were collected by National Unity Platform (NUP) agents all have a collection of invalid votes. Our tally, based on the figures on the declaration forms shows that there were 6,443 invalid votes from the three districts.   

In Budaka, for instance, we have tallied 2,099 invalid votes from 80 polling stations. The district has 190 polling stations. In Katakwi, we have counted 2,020 invalid votes from 149 out of the 193  polling stations and 2,324 invalid votes in Pakwach from 142 polling stations.

The Pakwach District Returning Officer, Johnson Muhumuza says that; “it was an error” that the tally clerks did not capture the invalid votes data. He however hastens to add that the error has already been solved, and the data of invalid votes sent to the Electoral Commission headquarters in Kampala. 

“We captured that data separately and sent it. It’s already in the national tally. It’s not reflected on the website,” Muhumuza says.  According to a figure availed by the District Returning Office, Pakwach had 2,320 invalid votes, a difference of four votes from what we had tallied (2,324). The district also had 90 spoilt votes.   

Katakwi District Returning Officer, Martin Musoke said; “there was a system breakdown in terms of capturing invalid votes, but declined to respond to more questions stating that he was not authorized to comment on the matter. Even the declaration form for the Katakwi District Woman MP race shows that there were zero invalid and spoilt votes.   

The Budaka District Returning Officer Nora Lunyolo also declined to comment on the issue of the invalid votes which were not captured. “I am driving right now... but with issues of results, contact the Electoral Commission PRO,” she said before hanging up.

Invalid votes are vital in election-result math. Although they are not awarded to any candidate, they are always added to the voter turnout.  For instance, in the January 14th presidential election, there were 393,500 invalid votes, equal to 3.66 per cent of voter total votes cast across the country. This percentage stands above the scores by nine of the candidates in the race. 

Budaka NUP coordinator Magwa Asuman had some declaration forms when he met URN for an interview. “As you can see, we have declaration forms from polling stations. They have invalid votes.”  “It’s not right for the Electoral Commission to release a statement that for all people who voted in Budaka, there were no invalid votes. There are invalid votes, we have the proof.,” he added.   

Kefa Nayepe, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Eastern League Coordinator who is a voter in Budaka was stunned when told that the district didn’t have any invalid votes as per the EC tally sheet yet, as he recalls, even his polling station recorded invalid votes. He however could not recall the exact figures. 

Umar Kiyimba, the head of Election Management at the Electoral Commission told URN before polling day that they were going to have a team that would verify results per polling station as they came in from districts. If this error was detected a day after sending results to the national tally centre, and the data of invalid votes sent to EC headquarters immediately, invalid votes for instance from Pakwach, whose record was sent after,  would have been captured in the final sheets uploaded on the Commission’s website, more than a week after the election.   

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