On 8th August 2017, 76.24 % of the registered 19 million voters showed up at the various polling stations to choose candidates of their choice.
The closing and counting process has already began with 39091 out of 40883 polling stations having already submitted their results electronically hours later. However as the tallying is ongoing, there are key concerns on the increased number of rejected votes. The number has seemingly increased from the previous 2013 election, with the numbers standing at 387959 for rejected votes and 4562 for the disputed votes.
A valid ballot, is one that is marked correctly and can be counted.IEBC has confirmed that, 14563615 were valid votes out of the total voter turnout. A rejected vote is one that cannot be counted, the Presiding Officer may reject any ballot paper, which for example: is not an official ballot paper, that is, it bears a serial number which differs from those on the ballot papers in that polling station and the relevant counterfoil; is of a different size than the official IEBC ballot papers. A disputed vote is a vote whose allocation is disputed. The Presiding officer determines how it will be allocated.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission started voter education drive which was aimed at reducing the number of spoilt votes in the 2017 General Election. At least 2,900 ward-based voter educators were hired and had been traversing wards, teaching Kenyans how electronic identification of voters and results transmission would work on the Election Day. Was it enough?
IEBC also resorted to use of live television interviews to explain the voting process to Kenyans, and with the high numbers of spoilt votes, Kenyans are left wondering what could have gone wrong during voting, raising criticism of voter education efforts.
IEBC is yet come up with a conclusive report on the same, however factors such as an increased number of first time voters, limited resources for voter education, time constraint are speculated to be amongst the reasons why the number of rejected votes has increased.
The Commission should engage more parties, both governmental and non-governmental in the voter education process, to prevent the large numbers of rejected votes in the future. Also, a proper resource allocation should be dedicated for the same purpose.