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Invalid Votes May Be Protest Votes-EC Spokesman

The EC spokesperson points out that further investigation must be done on invalid vote numbers because spoilt votes generate from conduct and behavior of a voter and might be protest votes from people seen from the way they cross out some candidates’ names, which may yield high numbers of the spoilt votes.
Paul Bukenya, the Electoral Commission (EC) Spokesperson.

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Invalid votes or blank ballot papers continue coming in third position due to their persistently high numbers as presidential election results are released.

Records show that invalid votes since 1996 come in third place and thus higher in number than those garnered by any of the presidential candidates coming after the winner and the first runner-up in the race.

YEAR       INVALID VOTES  

1996      196,190  

2001      186,453 

2006      295,525

2011      334,548 

2016      477,319 

2021      381,386  

Electoral commission guidelines say that voter’s education is to provide civic education and give citizenship skills as well as increase awareness of all Ugandans for the voting processes.   

However, some Ugandans are clearly unaware on how to correctly vote, seeing evidence on the ballots and continue to portray absolutely no knowledge about it.  

Kenneth Kaheru from Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) says that there is inadequate voter education in Uganda and that is the main reason for the persisting high numbers of invalid votes.

  However, Bukenya Paul, Electoral Commission Spokesman disagrees with Kenneth Kaheru saying that, voter education is very available in Uganda and should not be a reason for the continued high numbers of spoilt votes because voter education is actually done until the day of the polls.  

 He explains this by saying that there could be other factors that should be thoroughly investigated on why a voter would invalidate their vote yet the voter comes to a polling station sanely knowing how to vote and knowing all the rules that follow on how to vote a specific candidate.

He adds that presiding officers and polling officers always guide people on how to vote even on polling day and people are showed how to vote and where to mark in order to avoid invalidating their votes, and that even on the ballot paper there are graphics guiding one on how to correctly vote.

The EC spokesperson however points out that further investigation must be done on invalid vote numbers because spoilt votes generate from conduct and behavior of a voter and might be protest votes from people seen from why they cross out some candidates’ names which may yield high numbers in the spoilt votes.

  Bukenya further says that voter education also comes in a way that, posters of different candidates on the streets show how to vote by having ticks in boxes and how one is supposed to tick on their desired candidate.  

  “At the polling station there is a big sign post showing people how to vote” Paul Bukenya says  

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  Records still show that 2016 is the year that registered the highest number of spoilt votes at nearly half a million, however, there is a decline in the number of invalid votes this year, with a difference of 95,933 invalid votes less than 2016.  

Through observations, the voting processes at various polling stations went on peacefully and people were able to vote for their leaders, but as the process of vote counting began, with votes for different candidates being read invalid or blank ballots papers keep appearing as well.  

Observations still show that people may not properly know how to vote for their desired candidate when they approach the ballot paper. People make mistakes such as ticking on faces of the candidates, some put their fingerprint and it goes beyond the required box to put it in and some tick but also go ahead to cross out other candidates on the ballot which makes the vote invalid. 

 

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