A closer look: Uganda’s total registered voters for 2016 General Election

Analysis of Uganda Bureau of Statistics data vs Electoral Commission data

The final registered voters for 2016 according to latest data uploaded on the Electoral Commission website is 15,277,198. Questions about the 20,000 ghost voters still linger in our heads as we wait for the Electoral Commission to give an explanation of how the statistical errors occurred.

Let’s focus on the given statistics for now. The Uganda National Population and Housing Census happened in 2014 and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) released provisional results for the census to the public. An analysis of this data leaves some questions on whether it’s possible to have 15 million registered voters in the registers. Below is a screenshot of the projected population of Uganda for the year 2015 according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics provisional results.

Uganda projected population: Source (UBOS census provisional results)

According to census data in 2015, Uganda’s projected population for 2015 was 35.8million people assumed at a growth rate of 3.03%. It’s not clear if the Electoral Commission used this data for it’s electoral processes but it’s the most recent data since the census was held in 2014. All analysis is based on this census data.

Another interesting dataset to look at is the projected population for under 18 year olds. According to census data 56.7% of the population is below the age of 18. Uganda Bureau of Statistics says this number is 19,874,000 which does not make sense with a projected population being at 35,800,000. If we are to use the census population total, then 56.7% of the population under 18 years old is infact 20,298,600 people.

The table belows shows the breakdown of projected age group statistics for 2015.

Projected population by age group: UBOS census provisional results

Therefore assuming the Electoral Commission used data from the recent census to estimate Uganda’s population, the infographic below shows a breakdown analysis of UBOS data versus the Electoral C0mmission statistics.

Analysis of UBOS data vs Electoral Commission data

Like I pointed out earlier, 56.7% of projected population of 35,800,000 in 2015 gives 20,298,000. Note that this differs from the number in the census document which is 19,874,000.

Using the data above, if 20,298,000 people were projected to be below 18 years, this means that the number of people above 18 years old is therefore 15,501,400 to complete the estimate of 35,800,000 population total for 2015.

So according to UBOS provisional census results, 15,501,400 people are above 18years old making them eligible to register to vote for an election in 2015. The Electoral Commission’s confirmed voter’s register shows that we have 15,277,198 registered voters which means that out of the 15,501,400 people above 18 years, a total of 15,277,198 people are registered to vote in 2015 leaving a portion of 1.5%, 224,202 people as the number of unregistered but eligible voters.

The big question therefore is; Is it possible that only 224,202 eligible voters did not register for this election? A simple survey at the Hive Colab yesterday showed that 5 of 12 people were not registered to vote. That’s a very small sample space but there’s a very high chance that we have over 2 million eligible unregistered voters. This brings into question if indeed the number of 15,277,198 reflects the realities of actual registered voters.

All of this analysis is based on data from the national population and housing census for 2014, a document that can be downloaded here.

Final thoughts: This process revealed how hard it is to find data about Uganda in one central place. An opendata platform needs to be built to help one find detailed information in different sectors. Kenya has implemented this very well with their Kenya Opendata platform. Here’s to hoping that we can improve our processes by centralizing data and allowing everyone to have access to it when they need it.

Read TMS Ruge analysis of the voters register here and Javie Ssozi analysis here

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