KAMPALA – The Electoral Commission has issued guidelines to the general public restricting individuals on the use of cameras and other recording devices inside polling stations on polling day.
While phones are not prohibited at polling stations, the commission says they must not be used for recording purposes or taking photographs inside the polling stations.
Given the nature of our polling booth, which is an open basin, the presence of cameras inside polling stations may jeopardise the secrecy of the ballot, due to uncontrolled use of cameras and other recording devices, Justice Byabakama said.
He further explains, the secrecy of the ballot is aimed at ensuring that a vote is anonymous and cannot be traced back to the person who cast it. A secret ballot is, therefore, fundamental in achieving peaceful, free and fair elections.
A voter must not display his/her choice of a candidate on polling day by marking his/her choice on the ballot paper in the open, outside the basin which has been provided for secrecy by the commission.
Article 68(1) of the Constitution of Uganda provides that all public elections (Presidential, General Parliamentary and Local Government Councils) shall be by secret ballot, save for Administrative Units (LC 1 and LC II) Elections.
In the forthcoming general election only media personnel who have been accredited by the Uganda Media Council will be permitted to cover the voting process, but outside the cordoned-off area in a manner that protects the privacy of voters and the secrecy of the ballot.
However, during the counting of votes a candidate’s agent will be accepted to take recordings of the process or take a photograph of the issued Declaration of Results Form.