Unless you are a journalist who has been granted permission to cover the happenings of the August 8 polls, you will not be allowed to take photos inside polling stations according to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) chairman Mr. Wafula Chebukati. The commission has made it clear that voters must avoid the temptation to snap a pic marked of marked ballot papers to show who they have voted for.
“Voting is supposed to be secret. It is illegal to show everyone or post on any social media group who you have voted for,” said Mr. Chebukati.
The reason for this guideline is straightforward. However, it seems that there are people who have not grasped the concept of secrecy during voting. This demographic is being warned that it is against the law to broadcast the persons you have voted for with pictorial evidence, especially on social media sites.
During the 2013 General Elections, smartphone penetration was not as diverse like it is today. The half a decade span has seen great strides in this field where millions of Kenya have access to smartphones that have good cameras. Couple that with the craze to grab selfies and the population’s love of self-portraits in any situation and you will see IEBC’s point.
It should be noted that IEBC is not saying you leave your phone at home; no bring it. Just don’t fire cameras inside voting stations or make phone calls as a voter. When you are done casting that ballot, walk out of the polling station and take as many selfies as you can. Once you get over yourself, you can start taking images of the world around you and no one will bother you.
As stated, IEBC will enforce this regulation in a bid to protect the right of a voter to secrecy of ballot in line with the law. By no means is this a threat to not select their favourite candidate, so there is that.