CHAPTER 22:02
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

   SECTION

PART I
PRELIMINARY

   1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

PART II
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   Functions of the Commission [Repealed by Act No. 7 of 1999]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   Election of officers [Repealed by Act No. 7 of 1999]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   Powers of the Commission [Repealed by Act No. 7 of 1999]

PART III
REGISTRATION OF VOTERS

   6.   Eligibility

   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

PART IV
HOLDING OF ELECTIONS AND BY-ELECTIONS

Division 1—General

   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

PART V
CAMPAIGNING

   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

PART VI
POLLING STATIONS

   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

PART VII
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

PART VIII
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

PART IX
OBSERVATION

   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

PART X
COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS

   96.   Commission to decide on complaints

   97.   Appeals to the High Court

PART XI
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

   98.   Offences

   99.   Maintenance of secrecy

   100.   Offences under this Act cognizable offences

   101.   General penalty

PART XII
GENERAL

   102.   Preservation of election documents

   103.   Failure to elect a councillor

   104.   Regulations

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]

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1.   Short title

    This Act may be cited as the Local Government Elections Act.

2.   Interpretation

   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.

PART II
FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF THE COMMISSION

3–5.   Repealed by Act No. 7 of 1999

   [Repealed by Act No. 7 of 1999]

PART III
REGISTRATION OF VOTERS

6.   Eligibility

    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.

7.   Right and duty to register

   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.

8.   Duty to promote registration

   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.

9.   Single registration

   A person eligible to register as a voter shall be registered only once.

10.   Place of registration

   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.

11.   Temporary registration officers

   (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.

12.   Registration centres

   (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.

13.   Voters registers

   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.

14.   Evidence of a person’s eligibility to vote

   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.

15.   Registration and issue of voters’ registration certificate

   (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.

16.   Updating ofvotersregisters

   (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.

17.   Initialling of pages in voters rolls

   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.

18.   Monitoring ofregistration by political parties

   (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.

19.   Rights and duties of representatives of political parties

   (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.

20.   Period for registration of voters

   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.

21.   Closing of registration

   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.

22.   Voters register open to inspection

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