ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1. Short title
FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF THE COMMISSION
3. Functions of the Commission [Repealed by Act No. 7 of 1999]
4. Election of officers [Repealed by Act No. 7 of 1999]
5. Powers of the Commission [Repealed by Act No. 7 of 1999]
REGISTRATION OF VOTERS
7. Right and duty to register
8. Duty to promote registration
9. Single registration
10. Place of registration
11. Temporary registration officers
12. Registration centres
13. Voters registers
14. Evidence of a person’s eligibility to vote
15. Registration and issue of voters registration certificate
16. Updating of voters registers
17. Initialling of pages in voting rolls
18. Monitoring of registration by political parties
19. Rights and duties of representatives of political parties
20. Period for registration of voters
21. Closing of registration
22. Voters register open to inspection
HOLDING OF ELECTIONS AND BY-ELECTIONS
23. Election and by-election
24. Delay in publication of notice pending appeal
25. Appointment of returning officers
26. Election representative
Division 2—Nomination of Councillors
27. Qualifications of councillors
28. Procedure for commencing conduct of elections
29. Nomination of candidates
30. Nomination paper and supporting documents
31. Invalid nominations
32. Rejected nominations
33. No nomination of candidate
33A. Publication of names of candidates for election as councillor
34. Procedure for uncontested election
35. Procedure when poll to be held
36. Special provisions with respect to by-elections
37. Deposit on nomination
38. Withdrawal of a candidate
39. Death of candidate
40. Campaigning by candidates
41. Period of campaigning
42. Equal treatment of candidates
43. Freedom of expression and information
44. Freedom of assembly
45. Code of conduct
46. Prohibited places for campaigning
47. News broadcasts and reports
48. Publication of books, pamphlets, etc.
49. Campaign posters
50. Campaign financing
51. Polling stations
52. Polling station officers
53. Working hours for polling station officers
54. Work items for polling station officers
55. Security of work items at polling station
56. Monitoring of voting by candidates
57. Rights and duties of representatives of candidates
THE VOTE AND THE VOTING PROCESS
58. Characteristic of the vote
59. Place where to cast the vote
60. Ballot papers
61. Voting booths
62. Ballot boxes
63. Right of employees to be released for voting
64. Hours of voting
65. Order of voting
66. Continuity of the voting process
67. Adjournment in certain cases
68. Prohibited presence, etc., at polling stations
69. Requirements for exercising the right to vote
70. Manner of casting the vote
71. Voting by blind and disabled persons
72. Null and void votes
73. Doubts and complaints
DETERMINATION OF RESULTS OF THE ELECTIONS
74. Unused ballot papers
75. Classification of votes cast
76. Opening of ballot box and counting of votes
77. Record of the polling process
78. Delivery of ballot papers, etc., from polling stations
79. Compilation of the district result of the election
80. Determination of the national result of the election
81. Analysis of complaints, etc., prior to determination of the national results
82. Records of the national result of the election
83. Publication of the national result
84. Meaning of observation
85. Scope of observation
86. Beginning and end of observation
87. Collaboration by competent authorities
88. Invitation to observers
89. Categories of observers
90. Recognition and identification of observers
91. Compulsory use of identity cards and the common badge
92. Rights of observers
93. Obligations of observers
94. Position of diplomats
95. Separate and joint operation of observers
COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS
96. Commission to decide on complaints
97. Appeals to the High Court
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES
99. Maintenance of secrecy
100. Offences under this Act cognizable offences
101. General penalty
102. Preservation of election documents
103. Failure to elect a councillor
24 of 1996
7 of 1999
9 of 2013
An Act to provide for the conduct of local government elections and to provide for matters incidental thereto or connected therewith
[5TH AUGUST, 1996]
This Act may be cited as the Local Government Elections Act.
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
“candidate” means a person who has been nominated under this Act as a candidate for election as a councillor;
“Commission” means the Electoral Commission established under section 75 of the Constitution and appointed in accordance with the Electoral Commission Act;
“by-election” means the election of a councillor to fill a seat on the council which has become vacant otherwise than by dissolution of the council;
“Chief Elections Officer” means the person appointed as such under section 4;
“councillor” means a person elected under this Act to the office of councillor of a council;
“election” means an election to the office of councillor of a council;
“election officer” means the Chief Elections Officer and any officer subordinate to him and any other officer in the service of the Commission, including an officer appointed or designated as a registration officer, polling station officer, presiding officer and returning officer;
“irregularity”, in relation to the conduct of an election, means non-compliance with the requirements of this Act.
“nomination day” means the day appointed by the Commission for the receipt of nominations of candidates for an election under this Act;
“polling day” means any day appointed by the Commission under section 28 for the holding of a poll;
“polling station” means a place established as such under section 51;
“polling station officer” means a person appointed as such under section 52;
“presiding officer” means a polling station officer designated as such under section 52;
“registration” means the registration of voters in an election;
“voter” means a person registered to vote in an election;
“voter’s register” means the register of voters established under section 13;
“voters’ registration certificate” means a certificate issued to a voter under section 15;
“voting booth” means a compartment at a polling station for screening a voter from view when he is making his choice in the poll;
“ward” means an area delimited as such under section 3.
FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF THE COMMISSION
[Repealed by Act No. 7 of 1999]
REGISTRATION OF VOTERS
Any person residing in Malawi and who, on or before the polling day, shall have attained the age of eighteen years shall be eligible to register as a voter in an election.
It shall be the right and the civic duty of every eligible person residing in Malawi to present himself for registration as a voter and further he shall have the right to verify with the Commission or its officers that he has been registered and to request that any error or omission with respect to his registration be corrected.
The Commission shall, in accordance with this Act, create the necessary conditions and take all necessary actions for promoting awareness amongst persons residing in Malawi of the need to register as a voter for the purpose of an election and of the need for their full participation in the election.
A person eligible to register as a voter shall be registered only once.
A person shall be registered as a voter in the area where he ordinarily resides or was born or is employed or carries on business.
(1) The Commission may employ temporary staff, on such terms and conditions as it shall determine, as registration officers who shall register voters throughout Malawi.
(2) No person shall be employed as a registration officer with respect to any ward, unless—
(a) he is an eligible voter and has attained the age of eighteen years;
(b) he has attained the minimum educational qualification of Junior Certificate of Education or its equivalent; and
(c) he has knowledge of the language commonly spoken in the ward.
(3) Every registration officer shall, before commencing his duties, receive vocational training in the identification and registration of voters and generally in the requirements of this Act with respect to the registration of voters.
(4) In the performance of their duties, registration officers shall be under the supervision of the Chief Elections Officer and such of the other election officers as he or the Commission shall designate for the purpose.
(1) The Commission shall establish centres throughout every ward in Malawi as places where voters are to be registered and for this purpose the Commission shall endeavour to adopt the centres established for the registration of voters in the last previously held poll in addition to establishing new centres.
(2) No form of campaign material shall be exhibited at a registration centre or within a radius of one hundred metres of a registration centre.
Voters registers shall be in the prescribed form and the Commission shall procure sufficient copies thereof for the registration of voters throughout Malawi and for distribution to registration officers at every registration centre and for that purpose may adopt existing voters registers which shall, as necessary, be updated by registration officers with new registrations.
An eligible person wishing to be registered as voter in an election shall in person state that he is not registered at any other registration centre and shall present to a registration officer sufficient and cogent proof of his eligibility and may do so by producing—
(a) a passport, driver’s licence, even if expired, marriage certificate, an employment identity card or employment discharge certificate or a birth certificate or a similarly authentic document of identity;
(b) written, verbal or visual testimony of—
(i) the chief, a village headman or a registered voter of the area; or
(ii) the registration officer.
(1) Upon a registration officer being satisfied with proof of eligibility of a person to vote, he shall—
(a) issue to that person a voters’ registration certificate in the prescribed form;
(b) register that person in the voters register by entering the particulars of that person as prescribed therein.
(2) If a voters registration certificate issued to a voter is lost, destroyed, defaced, torn or otherwise damaged, the voter shall notify the registration officer or other officer duly authorized in that behalf in writing giving proof thereof, and upon such officer being satisfied with such proof he shall issue to the voter a duplicate copy of that voter’s original voters registration certificate with the word "DUPLICATE” clearly marked or printed thereon.
(1) In updating a voters register the registration officer shall do so by—
(a) adding the names and other prescribed particulars of the voters resulting from new registrations;
(b) drawing a line, without affecting legibility, over the particulars of the persons who are known to be deceased or who have lost eligibility to vote and indicating in the margin the reasons therefore.
(2) The registration officer making new entries in a voters register or deleting entries therefrom shall initial every such new entry or deletion.
(3) Upon the registration officer being satisfied with proof of loss of eligibility of a registered voter, he shall immediately update the voters register in accordance with the procedure under this section.
In the case of registration in a new voters register, the registration officer shall initial both sides of every page at a point where registration on the page ends.
(1) Every political party sponsoring a candidate in an election shall have the right to monitor the registration of voters and shall do so through its designated representatives assigned to a specified registration centre and whose names shall be notified in writing to the Commission, and in the absence of such notification by any political party it shall be presumed that such party does not desire to monitor the registration of voters at such registration centre.
(2) The Commission shall issue to every person designated as a representative under subsection (1) a document of identity which shall be in the prescribed form.
(3) There may be assigned to one registration centre more than one representative of a political party.
(1) Representatives of political parties shall have the following rights—
(a) to be treated with due respect and consideration by all persons administering the registration of voters and by the representatives of other political parties;
(b) to request and obtain information on activities relating to the registration of voters; and
(c) to submit to the Commission in writing complaints and appeals about any irregularities in the registration of voters.
(2) It shall be incumbent upon the representatives of political parties in exercising their rights under subsection (1)—
(a) to monitor the registration activities conscientiously and objectively;
(b) to cooperate with registration officers;
(c) to refrain from submitting complaints or appeals in bad faith or with the purpose of paralysing the registration process; and
(d) to refrain from divulging any information about a voter or prospective voter obtained as a consequence of acting as a representative and which is not relevant to the registration process.
(3) In addition to political parties and their representatives any person eligible to be registered as a voter and any registered voter may submit to the Commission in writing complaints and appeals about any irregularity in the registration of voters.
(4) The Commission shall endeavour to determine every complaint or appeal relating to registration of voters before the polling day and to remedy and confirmed irregularity.
The period for the registration of voters shall be determined by the Commission and notified in the Gazette, being a period of not less than fourteen days expiring not less than twenty-one days before the first polling day.
At the close of registration, every registration officer shall sign off the voters register assigned to him and shall forward it for custody to the Chief Elections Officer or to such other officer as is designated by the Commission for the purpose and shall submit to such officer a summary of the total number of voters registered in the area assigned to him.
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