Government has increased the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) budget for 2019 general elections from P439, 900, 000 to P510, 902,554 to cater for the 2019 polls.
The increase is due to unforeseen extra cost the IEC incurred during voter registration and fluctuation of prices for services, which might happen during the elections.
Other costs include advertising, voter education and staff transport.
“It is true our budget has increased. Yes overtime is one of the factors that always increase our budget because the workers are forced to work extra hours to register people,” said IEC spokesperson, Osupile Maroba.
He said they realised that a majority of people who are workers prefer to register for elections after work. Maroba added that overtime paid exceeds P2 million.
“Even though the number of polling stations has been reduced from 2,160 in 2014 to 2,060 in 2019, it does not mean the number of temporary employees that IEC engages will go down,” said Maroba.
The IEC expects to service 500 or less per polling station but if a polling station has more than 500 voters,
“The purpose of those clusters would be to avoid queues. The aim of IEC is to assist people effectively and attend to problems that might arise. It is our responsibility to deliver free and fair elections,” added Maroba.
He admitted that there are polling stations that have more than 1,000 voters.
Such is the University of Botswana where they might be forced to have more than three clusters of 500 voters in different areas, but still at the same polling station to avoid queuing.
He said the numbers of people who voted in a polling station, which has more than one cluster, would be consolidated into one place for principal officers to check if all voting materials balance.
Maroba said it should be understood that the whole budget covers preparation and time for elections not only a period of voting day.