The Ballot – Chad

The Ballot

Chad

One of the major innovations in Chad’s electoral system is the introduction of the single ballot. In the elections held in 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2006, a multiple ballot system was used. Under this system, each ballot displayed a different party logo alongside the names of different competing candidates and parties. But the deficiencies noted by political parties and electoral observers, especially the shortage of ballots for some candidates at certain polling stations, led political leaders to agree, on August 13, 2007, to use a single ballot for all elections. This 2007 agreement was dubbed political, but is in fact an electoral agreement as all its provisions are about elections. The reforms deal with the Electoral Code, institutions that manage elections and the general framework for the organization of elections. As a result of this agreement, the single ballot was introduced in the last presidential, legislative and local elections. It included the names, logos, and symbols of all competing candidates.

However, if there was a consensus among political leaders about the single ballot, its introduction was nevertheless a source of contention. In constituencies where there were long lists of candidates, it was necessary to reduce the size of the symbols and logos of political parties, and yet these symbols and logos are the only obvious signs by which voters, especially illiterate ones, recognize for whom they are voting. The reduction of the size of party logos and symbols made them almost impossible for many voters to identify or distinguish. The main consequence was that many votes were not cast properly and were nullified. The rate of nullified votes was exceptionally high in the last elections. It should be noted that voter awareness campaigns were very limited considering the impact of innovations such as the introduction of the single ballot. The Electoral commission noted such limitations in its report.

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