Exposing voter-register discrepancies a few days to Uganda’s Presidential and Parliamentary Elections

A few days ago, my quest of finding data about the number of eligible voters we have in Uganda’s voters register uncovered something that would cause a national alarm. I was searching for this information to write a blogpost to encourage fellow youth to go out and vote in big numbers if they want to make their voices heard. The norm is that most Ugandan youth never vote for leaders but they’re the first to complain when results are being announced.

Uganda’s population is highly predominant of youth, 77% of the entire population of roughly 35 million people being below the age of 30 years. Statistics also show that 52% of Ugandans are below voting age while 39.3% of Ugandans are between 19–59 years (prime voting age). I wanted to reach out to that demographic and encourage them to go vote in big numbers and that’s when I landed on the Uganda Electoral Commission website to gather more data on registered voters.

I discovered a lot of discrepancies in the documents published by the electoral commission on their website and immediately contacted the electoral commission for a response. Below is the tweet I sent out;

tweet from my official twitter account @enamara

With no response from the electoral commission for nearly 48 hours, I contacted a friend of mine Javie Ssozi and we started analyzing the data deeply and as a result, we released the first blogpost yesterday to alert Ugandans of the ongoing discrepancies.

In light of this information, many Ugandans are seeking to know how we analyzed the data so that they can take a closer look themselves. I want to use this blogpost to help anyone who wants to dig in and expose the discrepancies in the voters registers.

Go to the official Electoral Commission website here and once there, go to “Elections” tab and scroll down to “Voter Statistics

Image 1: Voter Statistics

The voter statistics tab displays registration statistics ranging from as back as 2007. The data you need to look out for is top of the list. Go to this link “Voter count per polling station 2016 General election”, this is a 2802 paged pdf document that shows details of every polling station, the number of female voters, the number of male voters, and the voter counts computed by the Electoral Commission team.

Image 2: Voter count per polling station 2016 general election

From this document, it is difficult to compare side by side the number of female voters against the male voters for each polling station because the EC team separated the “no.of males” column from the rest of the document. What you need to do here is scroll down towards the end of the document and find the total number of female voters, total voter counts and the total number of male voters.

Image 3: EC Voter count computations

From this data, please note that there are 7,249,394 registered male voters and 8,027,803 registered voters. When those two figures are added, they give a total of 15,277,197, however the EC vote count total adds up to 15,297,197 as listed on the website. This is when we began to dig deep and find out about the additional 20,000 voters that are unaccounted for.

To analyze this deeper, we downloaded this PDF document and converted it to excel so that we can add the total number of male voters side by side with the total number of female voters. We also added a column that we named “Analyzed data” and another one called “ghost voters”. The analyzed data column is a sum of total female voters and male voters. The ghost voters column shows the difference between the EC vote counts and the analyzed data.

Image 4: Analyzed data

Highlights of this data:

The data highlighted green (not shown in this image) on the “analyzed vote count” means that the analyzed data matches with the EC vote count tally. The number in bold black under “analyzed vote count” means that the EC vote count and the analyzed vote count data sets do not match up, leading to an increase in “unaccounted for voters” or in some instances a negative number. This difference is what is captured in the “ghost voters” column.

In simple terms, to get the ghost voters column, you get the analyzed data and subtract it from the EC vote count data set. If you go through the whole document, the ghost voters column adds up to 20,000 voters unaccounted for.

From the same image, you can also see a big number of analyzed data in negatives. The Electoral Commission needs to give an explanation. This may mean that some people have been cut out of the register, or there was an error in entering the male & female numbers.

At this point you may be wondering, how did we analyze this data? It is simple. Go back to the official Electoral Commission site and then under the “Elections” tab, go to “polling stations”.

Image 5: Polling stations

Here you will find 2 documents, the “updated polling station list and voter count for general elections 2015/2016” and the “polling stations voter roll for general elections 2016” — download both documents but for now, open up “polling stations voter roll for general elections 2016” as shown in the image below.

Image6: Polling Stations voter roll for General Elections 2016

This will open up the link below; Now go back to the first document we opened called “Voter count per polling station 2016 General election” and enter the details of any district, constituency, sub-county and parish and confirm the total vote counts for each of those polling stations. Check your findings against findings in our spreadsheet to find the discrepancies.

Image 7: Polling Station information entry

We can will continue to break down this data in coming posts. For now, please download the full read-only spreadsheet, link is in this blogpost and analyze all the data with the 20,000 ghost voters.

Finally, let’s demand accountability and an explanation from the Electoral Commission of Uganda. Our collective voices matter.

This data analysis is being done by both Javie and I, please contact Evelyn Namara (@enamara) and Javie Ssozi (@jssozi) for any further information.