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February 26, 2013

Guide to Voting in the Kenyan General Elections

Kenya’s general election will be held March 4 starting at 6:00am local time.  Kenyan citizens 18 and over who are registered voters and in the electoral register are entitled to vote.  An ID card or valid Kenyan passport will be required at the polling station.

There are six positions up for election:

President = The head of state and head of government

National Assembly Representative = The representative of a constituency at the National Assembly 

Women Representative
= A representative of the interests of women at the National Assembly, one representative per county

Senator = The representative of a county at the Senate

County Governor = The head of county government, responsible for implementing county legislation and managing county departments

County Assembly Ward Representative = The representative of a ward at the county assembly, which makes laws for the county

According to the electoral commission (the IEBC), once you arrive at your polling station and get in the queue, here is the procedure:

1)      Present your identification to the clerk

2)      A second clerk will then check your details in the voter’s register and call out your name if everything is correct. If your name does not appear or details are incorrect, you will be referred to the Presiding Officer (the official representative of the election commission at that polling station)

3)      You will be provided your stamped ballot papers and shown to a voting booth

4)      Mark the ballot papers to indicate your votes and then fold each ballot paper

5)      Cast your vote by depositing each ballot paper in the correct box (identified by name and color)

6)      Your finger will be marked with ink to indicate you have voted

When marking a ballot paper, mark the space that corresponds to the name and symbol of the candidate of your choice.  The IEBC cautions your ballot can be rejected if it has a signature, name or initial instead of the official mark, is marked outside the official marking space, or is unmarked.

On election day, do not:
- distribute campaign materials near the polling place or otherwise try to influence other voters (including by singing or dancing in support of a candidate)
- wear clothing with a candidate's slogan, symbol, or photo
- bribe other voters or use violence, intimidation, or threats to influence other voters
- tamper with the voting materials or ballot boxes

The position of president is chosen by majority vote. The winning candidate must receive more than 50% of the vote (and at least 25% of votes in half of the counties). If no candidate receives a majority in the initial vote, a run-off between the top two candidates will be held April 11.

All other positions are elected by plurality.  Whichever candidate receives the highest number of votes will be declared the winner.

Source: Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)