Results management is the process of translating the ballots cast in an election into votes cast for each candidate, and determination of information as to the successful candidate. Two principles guide ECZ in managing results for an election and these are transparency and accuracy. The ECZ has opened up the process to stakeholders at every stage and has put in place systems to ensure that the outcome is always an accurate representation of the will of the people.
This is the process of adding up and determining the votes cast for each candidate in an election. In case of tripartite elections, the Presidential ballot papers should be counted first followed by the National Assembly and then Local Government elections. Persons allowed to witness the count are as follows:
Steps before counting are as follows:
Presiding and Assistant Presiding Officers MUST take note that counting will be done at stream level. However the totalling for the polling stations results, announcements and delivery of results to the Totalling Centre will be done by the Presiding Officer.
The Presiding Officer or Assistant Presiding Officers must seal the aperture for the ballot boxes and complete the ballot paper account forms in readiness for the count.
I. Record the ballot papers in the voting stream including the other equipment.
II. Pick the ballot and show that it is sealed to all present before opening
III. Open the ballot box and empty the ballot papers onto the table and show the empty box to the people present at the count.
IV. Count the total number of ballot papers found in the ballot box.(the number should tally with the total number of used ballot papers recorded in column(2) of the Ballot Paper Account form)
V. Record the total number of the ballot papers on the Record of Proceedings at the Count. This figure should be equal to the figure recorded in column 2 of the Ballot Paper Account form.
VI. Check for the official mark on each ballot paper and sort out the ballot papers for each candidate in the trays.
VII. Each ballot paper must be shown to the persons present at the count before placing the ballot paper in the tray for the respective candidate.
VIII. Place rejected ballot papers in the tray `` rejected ‘’.
IX. State reason why a ballot paper has been rejected.
X. Count the ballot papers for each candidate in twenties (20) and clip.
XI. The ballot papers should be verified by the second counting assistant who should bundle them into hundreds( note that Presiding or Assistant Presiding Officer at a Polling Station with more than two streams will be provided with calculators to facilitate easy totalling.)
XII. Count the rejected ballot papers.
XIII. Total up the ballot papers for all the candidates and the rejected ballot papers. The total should tally with the number found in the ballot box.(if the two totals do not tally a recount should be done).
XIV. Pack the candidate ballot papers separately in the envelopes marked `H’ for each candidate and record the total votes cast in the space provided.
XV. Pack the rejected ballot papers in the envelope `J’ and record the total number of the rejected ballot papers in the space provided.
The collation and totalling of elections takes place within a Constituency at a place designated for this purpose called Collation or Constituency Centre. This process involves the gathering and analysing of all election results, from all the polling stations within a Constituency, together with all the associated election forms.
After each polling station within a Constituency has announced the election results, all the Presiding Officers will physically deliver the announced results to the Returning Officer at the Collation Centre.
The Returning Officer will upon receipt of election results from the polling station do the following:
I. Verify the following forms have been completed correctly:
I. Ballot Paper Account Form;
II. Record of Proceedings at the Count;
III. Statement of Rejected Ballot Papers; and
IV. Announcement of Results of the Poll.
II. Announce the name of the polling station whose results have been received;
III. Announce the results as allocated to candidates;
IV. Record the results on the chart, paste on the wall for the Stakeholders to see; and
V. Hand `Record of Proceedings at the Count’ to the Assistant Returning Officer- IT for capture of the results onto the Results Management System kit and automatic transmission to the National Results Centre.
Once results have been captured, the Assistant Returning Officer – IT will:
I. Print the ``Record of Proceedings at the Count’‘ from time to time for the stakeholders; and
II. Print the` `Announcement of Results of the Poll’’ or``Declaration of Results of the Poll’’ depending on the type of election and give it to the Returning Officer to be used for announcing results and declare the winner.
NATIONAL RESULTS CENTRE
This is where the transmission of results is received from Returning and Presiding Officers of different constituencies and Polling Stations. The centre is responsible for the announcement of all results in the presence of international and local media, the Church, Civil Society Organisation and others present. These announcements are broadcast live on Radio and T.V. throughout the country. The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia announces the Presidential, Local Government and Parliamentary results while the Chief Justice declares the winner of the presidential results at the national results centre which is the Mulungushi International Conference Centre.