By Glory Msowoya
Blantyre, May 26: Mana; Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has commissioned a research on null and void votes to be conducted in June and July, 2021.
Director of Communications and Public Relations for MEC Sangwani Mwafulirwa told Malawi News Agency on Wednesday in Blantyre that the study would be conducted in conjunction with the Centre for Social Research of the University of Malawi.
He said the methodology of the research would involve a desk review of ballot papers for the 2019 tripartite elections.
“From this study, MEC would like to understand the spread of null and void votes. We are expecting that from the findings we should be able to develop strategies whether is for voter education or elections management this will help us to lower the percentage of null and void votes that we are having as a country,’’ Mwafurliwa said.
Executive Director for National Elections Trust, Unandi Banda has welcomed the idea saying even electoral stakeholders would know how to deal with null and void votes based on findings from the research.
“ It’s a good development because there are so many ways that lead into a null and void vote, so doing this kind of research will help us electoral stakeholders to find proper ways of dealing with the trend of null and void votes,” he explained.
In addition the research, will explore various forms of null and void votes, to map the distribution of null and void votes geographically and to offer recommendations based on the findings towards reducing the rate of null and void votes.
In 2014 the rate of null and void votes was at 1.09 percent for the presidential elections, and 1.43 percent for the parliamentary election and 2.3 percent for the local government elections.