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Big number of rejected votes rekindles memories of 2013 polls

Sealed ballot boxes at a tallying centre in Nairobi. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NMG
Sealed ballot boxes at a tallying centre in Nairobi. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NMG 

Rejected votes could once again become a major talking point after provincial results of the presidential election placed the figure at 393,113.

Also, out of the 40,833 polling stations, valid votes at 7.20pm were 14, 708,260, disputed votes stood at 5,136 and objected ones at 2,637.

The high number of rejected votes rekindles the memories of the 2013 election when the number of rejected ballots stood at 330,000 but later reduced to 40,000 after the electronic transmission was discontinued and the manual one adopted.

The issue of the rejected votes in that election was the basis of a heated argument during the presidential petition filed by Cord leader Raila Odinga challenging the election of Uhuru Kenyatta.

A rejected ballot is one that cannot be counted because it was marked twice, marked outside the box, doesn’t bear the IEBC stamp, has serial number that differs from papers linked to a polling station or is of different size.

Mr Kenyatta’s 2013 part TNA objected to the inclusion of the rejected votes on the final presidential tally, arguing it was a scheme to deny him outright 50 per cent-plus one vote first round win.

The Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga concurred with TNA, ruling that the electoral commission was wrong to include the rejected votes in the final tally.

The court ruled that rejected ballot papers were invalid and cannot be included.

The court said that neither the Constitution nor the regulations made by the commission had provisions for “rejected votes”, though they provide for “rejected ballot papers”, “spoilt ballot papers” and “disputed votes”.

Further, it ruled that spoilt ballot papers are those that are not placed in the ballot box, but are cancelled and replaced where necessary by the Presiding Officer.

These, the court said, differ from the rejected ones. Rejected votes in this year’s elections raise concerns on whether civic education was effective.

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