Factors influencing informal voting in Zambia: a case of Namwala Constituency
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This study aimed at establishing factors influencing informal voting in Namwala constituency, Southern Province of Zambia. Objectives of the study were to establish the types of informal voting taking place in voting events, establish mistakes voters make when marking ballot papers and determine measures that should be put in place to curb informal voting in Zambia. This was a qualitative study. A descriptive survey design using qualitative methods to collect and analyse data was used. Purposive sampling was used to identify respondents for the study. The research established the following as key factors influencing informal voting in Namwala constituency: Poor economic performance by the sitting government, corruption records labelled against some candidates appearing on the ballot paper, public commentary on election results while voting continues in some polling stations, lack of confidence in the secrecy of the ballot paper, lack of preferences amongst those contesting an election and lack of basic reading and writing skills. Based on these study findings, the research concludes that on one hand, not all voters go to the polls to support any candidate appearing on the ballot paper and such voters tend to deliberately cast informal votes, on the other hand, some voters mistakenly vote informally due to illiteracy and lack of knowledge and skills about voting procedures. Regarding these findings, the research recommends that voter education providers should distribute brochures, magazines and other relevant forms of literature focusing on ballot marking procedures and the effect of informal voting. Further research to be conducted on the category of informal votes cast and individual mistakes made on each ballot paper immediately after an election in order to come up with a report reflecting informality rates with regards to intentional and non-intentional informal voting in various polling stations across the country.
University of Zambia
Master of Education in Civic Education.
- Education