Malawi: Voter verification: MEC launches SMS and online service

Digital Content

As the voter verification exercise progresses in Malawi ahead of the May 20 polls, eligible voters will now be able to verify their details online and through mobile phones.

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in conjunction with the Malawi Election Information Centre (MEIC) is rolling out this service, with technical assistance coming from SMAG Media UK, Ltd. and Code For Africa.

The registered voters are advised to send a FREE short-message-service (SMS) to a designated short-code and instantly receive details of where they are registered to vote.

Those in Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Nkhotakota, Salima and all districts in the Northern Region and in Likoma will be the first to have access to the mobile verification platform during the second phase of voter verification which has started today.

MEC's Director of Media & Public Relations, Sangwani Mwafulirwa said they have provided the two new facilities to accommodate those registered voters who could not be able to visit their registers.

He advised those who might notice any missing details on the voters role to visit their nearest registration centre for their details to be corrected.

On his part, Project Manager responsible for Media and Publicity at MEIC Levi Kabwato explained how people will be verifying their voter details through mobile phones and online.

Kabwato said three languages: Chichewa, Chitumbuka and English have been provided for use when accessing information on the phone during the exercise.

'To verify your details voter registration status, one must send an SMS with their voter identification number 5VOTE (58683). This SMS is FREE of charge on both Airtel and TNM networks.

'To receive voter registration details in ChiChewa, for example, a registered voter will have to type CHE123456789 (CHE for ChiChewa + the voter's nine digit ID Number) and send an SMS to 58683.

'To receive voter registration details in ChiTumbuka, for example, a registered voter will have to type TUM123456789 (TUM for ChiTumbuka + the voter's nine digit ID Number) and send an SMS to 58683.

'To receive voter registration details in English, for example, a registered voter will have to type only their voter ID (example: 123456789) and send an SMS to 58683.'

To verify one's voter registration status online, Kabwato said one has to go to http://gottovote.malawivote2014.org and follow the instructions outlined.

'Registered voters are able to verify their details up to three times. Those who find inconsistencies against their voter records are advised to contact their nearest MEC office for assistance as no corrections or queries regarding voter information will be accepted by the system,' said Kabwato.

He also stressed that mobile and web verification is only available to registered voters belonging to constituencies where MEC will be conducting voter verification exercises ahead of the polls.

However, eligible voters from the southern region, where first phase of the exercise has already concluded have criticized the electoral authorities for not considering them on the initiative.

But MEC's Mwafulirwa said the Commission gave them enough time [five days] to verify their details during the first phase.