Convention of the EAC/ECJ on the Location of Polling Stations

First, the EAC, followed by the ECJ, established a Convention for the Location of Polling Stations. This came about because the location of polling stations had become a contentious and controversial issue. There were instances in which supporters of one political party or another had resorted to strong-armed tactics in seeking to change the location of a polling station for one reason or another. In 2001 the EAC decided that it would develop and circulate criteria for the location of polling stations and invite the Returning Officer, political representatives at both the Parliamentary and Local Government levels in each constituency, and its electoral divisions, as well as representatives named by the Superintendent of Police for the area, to agree on locations for polling stations that met the EAC criteria. Once an agreement was reached it had to be signed by all representatives involved. If there were disagreement these had to be referred to the Director of Elections and the Nominated Members for resolution. For those locations for which no agreement had been reached, Selected Members made final decisions. The agreed locations of polling would remain valid for the next two years and would be the location of polling stations for all elections conducted during the period. Should the building housing a polling station be destroyed totally or partially such that it is unusable, then temporary accommodation will be erected on that site for the conduct of the poll.

Since 2001 the EAC, now ECJ, criteria have become well known. The process and procedures for arriving at an agreement on polling locations have become standard practice. The period of validity of two years has become the norm. Controversy over the location of a polling station has been reduced significantly and virtually eliminated in some constituency. Polling station locations are not legislated. They have become a matter of convention.

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