How to register
In Uganda, registration of voters is optional and is done on a continuous, yet voluntary basis and is open to any one who qualifies to vote. Every voter should endeavor to check the status of his/her registration prior to any election or referenda.
Anyone who holds the following status at the time of registration may be registered as a voter:
1. Is a citizen of Uganda;
2. Has attained the minimum age of 18 years;
3. Is a resident, or originates from that parish where he/she intends to vote.
The registration team may be found at the following locations:
1. Office of the District Registrar, located at every district headquarters, in Uganda;
2. At the Voter Registration section at Electoral Commission headquarters, Kampala and
3. When the mobile teams announce their programmes in the Parishes, or at the Show grounds, or at major functions.
Legal Basis for Voter Registration
The legal basis for conducting voter registration in Uganda is Article 59(1) of the Constitution of Uganda (1995), which states that: It is the duty of every citizen of Uganda of eighteen years of age or above to register as a voter for public elections and referenda. reg1
According to section 19(1) of the Electoral Commission Act (1997), a person aged at least 18 years and he/she is citizen of Uganda may register as a voter in a parish where he/she originates from or resides.
Thus, a Voters' roll for each polling station in a parish has been compiled and only persons whose names appear on the roll are entitled to vote at an election (Section 19(12) Electoral Commission Act 1997).
1. The National Photo-Bearing Voters’ Register (PVRIS OR NVR)
This is the Basic Register in current use at any general election. It is the one used in the Presidential elections, Directly Elected Members of Parliament, District Woman Members of Parliament, Local Government Chairpersons, Directly elected Councilors, and Women Councilors at the District, Municipality, and Sub County levels. Voting at all these elections are by Universal Adult Suffrage and by Secret Ballot.
The PVRIS Register bears the Voter’s bio-data, which includes the following:
• Passport Photograph;
• Surname and other names;
• Electoral areas, i.e., District, Constituency, Sub County, Parish, Village, and Polling Station;
• The Date of Birth and Sex; &.
• Voters Code number.
Those whose names are not included in this register do not enjoy any of the benefits of a voter as mentioned above.
2. Special Interest Groups’ Register:
The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda seeks redress on certain interest groups, which by virtue of history were marginalized. It provides for affirmative action with their representation at some strategic levels of government.
Elections of representatives of these groups are normally constituted by designated Electoral Colleges using such registers. Their mode of voting is still by secret ballot.
The Electoral College Registers bear similar bio-data as those of the PVRIS Register.
Any person whose names appear on the Electoral College register may vote, but only those whose names appear on the PVRIS register may contest for any positions of leadership.The Special Interest groups include:
• Workers, represented only in Parliament.
• Persons With Disability, represented at all levels,
• Youth, represented at all levels,
• Uganda Peoples Defense Force, represented at Parliament.
3.The Village Roll:
Elections of the Village Local Council Executives, is provided for in the Local Government Act currently being amended, uses a village text register, which bears names and other particulars of the registered residents in that village.
The bona-fide village councilor may not necessarily be Ugandan by citizenship, but as long as such persons are of 18 years and above and reside or originate in that village, they are entitled to vote. Uganda currently has approximately 50,000 villages and each village is perceived as a polling station; hence 50,000 village registers.