The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has finally published information on the printing of ballots, an important step towards Wednesday’s election.

Apparently, this came after outcry by stakeholders as to why ZEC was keeping the printing of ballot papers a secret and below are some key details from the announcement.

Who printed the ballots?

The Minting and Printing Company, a unit of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Fidelity Printers, was given the contract to print the ballots.

The same company also printed presidential and parliamentary election ballots in 2018, while government company Printflow printed council election ballots.

Number of ballots printed?

ZEC is printing 7,126,600 ballots for the presidential election to cater for 6,623,511 voters, 7,098,750 for the 6,597,865 voters in the Parliamentary elections, and 6,861,650 for council elections.

In 2018, ZEC printed 6,150,950 presidential ballots and a same number for parliament elections. Some 5,036,250 local authority ballots were printed then.

Meanwhile, there is a difference between the number of ballots printed for the three different elections. According to ZEC, this is because there will be no election in Gutu West; the poll there has been postponed after the death of one of the nominated candidates.

There are also fewer ballots for council elections because ZANU PF is uncontested in 91 seats. Elections in four other wards were postponed due to the death of candidates.

Extra ballots printed:
ZEC is printing an extra 503,089 ballots for the presidential elections, 500,885 more for the parliamentary election, and an additional 249,788 for the ward election. Extra ballots are printed as continency to account for things such as spoilage and damage. For example, a voter is allowed to ask for an extra ballot if they have spoiled their paper.

The extra ballots for the presidential and parliamentary elections are about 7% of the total ballots printed. This is within the 10% that ZEC is allowed by Section 52 of the Electoral Act, and in the same ballpark with the 8% in 2018.