Politicians could have their popular nicknames on ballot papers as opposed to their official names if a proposed amendment to the election law passes.
Elections (Amendment) Bill 2019 seeks the inclusion of a candidate’s popular name on the ballot paper to ensure they do not lose out on benefits of their nicknames.
Currently, the law only permits the use of a candidate’s official name as it appears in the register of voters and in the candidate’s identification documents.
A candidate who wishes to have his or her popular name included on a ballot paper has to go through the lengthy process of officially changing his or her name through the procedures set out under the Registration of Persons Act, Cap 107, the Registration of Documents Act, Cap 285 and the Rules and Regulations made under the two Acts.
The Bill also proposes to amend Section 109 of the Elections Act to ensure compliance with Articles 94(5) of the Constitution in the approval of Regulations made pursuant to the proposed new clauses, and the Elections Act in general.
The proposed law also states that a candidate planning to use or include popular names shall apply to IEBC 21 days before the date of submission of official names and in the case of an independent candidate, such an application shall be made at the time of submission of the candidate’s symbol.