Did you know that voting while pretending to be illiterate can land you in jail for up to six months? According to the Election Offences Act 2016, faking to be unable to read or write in order to be assisted in voting is a crime punishable by a fine of up to Ksh1 million, a six-month jail sentence, or both.
The Act further stipulates that a voter who claims to be blind or disabled in order to be assisted in voting commits an electoral offense that is punishable by law. The law, on the other hand, allows those with impairments who may be unable to vote to be supported by polling clerks or a person of their choosing.
According to the Act, dropping non-authorized items into the voting box is a crime punishable by law, with a fine of Ksh1 million or a prison sentence of up to six months, or both, if convicted.
Section 5(f) of the Election Offences Act states, "Any person who puts anything other than the ballot paper that he is authorized by law to put in any ballot box commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years or to both."
Forging, counterfeiting, defacing, or destroying a ballot paper, interfering with a voter casting their ballot, or assisting a voter to cast their ballot when they are not authorized to do so all carry similar penalties.
The rule also prohibits voters or anyone else from photographing their ballot paper after casting their vote in order to exhibit it or use it as a symbol of allegiance.
"Any person who captures an image of any marked ballot for the purpose of financial gain or to show allegiance commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both," says the Act's Section 7(3)(e).
Bribing, intimidating, coercing, or pressuring voters to vote for a specific candidate is also an election offense punishable by law.
The presidential election petitions in 2013 and 2017 were based on allegations of election results manipulation, with those who were wronged accusing their opponents of hacking the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) voter transmission system.
Anyone found guilty of such an offense faces hefty penalties under Section 17 of the Election Offences Act of 2016.
"Any person who, in relation to the electoral process, intercepts any nonpublic transmission of computer data to, from, or within a computer system, including electromagnetic emissions from a computer system carrying such computer data, commits an offense and shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding ten million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both," says Section 7(e) of the act.
Employers are also required to provide their employees sufficient time to vote, failing which the law considers them to have committed an electoral offense.
Section 18(1) of the Act states, "Every employer shall allow a voter in his employ a reasonable period for voting on polling day, and no employer shall make any deduction from the payor other remuneration of any such voter, or impose upon or exact from them any penalty by reason of his absence during such period."
Section 18(2) indicates that an employer who refuses to allow employees to vote, either directly or indirectly, or via intimidation or undue influence, has committed a crime punishable by law. If they are proven guilty, they face a fine of up to Ksh1 million, a jail sentence of up to six years, or both.
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