1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

   3.   Procedural requirement

   4.   Matter to be posed as a question

   5.   Writ of referendum

   6.   Persons entitled to vote

   7.   Form of ballot and manner of voting

   8.   Polling hours

   9.   Control of polling stations

   10.   Arrangement of polling stations

   11.   Ballot boxes and discard boxes

   12.   Method of voting

   13.   Assistance to voters by election officers

   14.   Interference with voters

   15.   Voters objected to

   16.   Spoilt ballot papers

   17.   Personal attendance

   18.   Where to vote

   19.   Voting by election officers and police officers

   20.   Tendered ballot papers

   21.   Control of polling station

   22.   Removal of persons misconducting themselves

   23.   Adjournment of poll in case of riot

   24.   Closing of poll

   25.   Procedure on closing poll

   26.   Counting of votes

   27.   Verification of ballot papers accounts

   28.   Method of counting

   29.   Rejected ballot papers

   30.   Returning officer's decision final

   31.   Method of dealing with papers

   32.   Certificate and declaration of result

   33.   Publication of result

   34.   Documents to be delivered to High Court

   35.   Corrupt and illegal practices

   36.   Who may present a petition

   37.   Presentation of petition

   38.   Registrar to give notice to the Attorney-General

   39.   Trial of petition

   40.   Form of petition

   41.   Offences

      Schedule - Forms

Act 16, 1987,
Act 17, 1987,
Act 5, 2001.

An Act to provide for the holding of a Referendum.

[Date of Commencement: 7th August, 1987]

1.   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Referendum Act.

2.   Interpretation

   (1) Unless the context otherwise requires or this section otherwise provides, terms used in this Act shall have the same meaning as that which they have under the Electoral Act.

   (2) In this, Act unless the context otherwise requires-

   "poll" means a poll conducted in accordance with this Act;

   "polling day" means the day appointed by writ as the day upon which a poll shall be taken under this Act;

   "writ" means a writ issued under section 5.

3.   Procedural requirement

   Where under any law, any matter is required to be submitted to a vote of the electors qualified to vote in the election of the Elected Members of the National Assembly for approval by a majority of them, it shall be submitted in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

4.   Matter to be posed as a question

   The matter requiring the approval of the majority of the electors shall be submitted in the form of a question requiring an affirmative or negative reply and shall, where it is an amendment to any law, contain a full text of the proposed amendment.

5.   Writ of referendum

   (1) When any matter is required under any law to be submitted to a vote of the electors qualified to vote at an election of the Elected Members of the National Assembly, the President shall issue a writ in Form A set out in the Schedule under the Public Seal of Botswana addressed to the Secretary to the Independent Electoral Commission fixing the day and the hours for the taking of the poll and setting out the matter on which the poll is to be taken.

   (2) If at any time between the publication of the notice under subsection (1) and polling day, the President is satisfied that it is expedient in the public interest to do so, he may, by proclamation published in the Gazette, adjourn the taking of the poll to some other day specified by him.

   (3) A proclamation made under subsection (2) shall apply only to such constituencies as are specified in the proclamation, and not to any other constituency.

6.   Persons entitled to vote

   (1) Subject to the provisions of section 18, any person registered as a voter in any constituency shall be entitled to vote, at the polling station at which he has been so registered, in accordance with section 54 of the Electoral Act.

   (2) No person shall be entitled to vote-

   (a)   more than once at a referendum;

   (b)   at a referendum if he is at the date of the referendum, disqualified from voting at any election under the provisions of the Electoral Act or any other law pursuant to section 67(4) of the Constitution.

7.   Form of ballot and manner of voting

   (1) The ballot of every person voting at a referendum shall consist of a ballot paper in a form to be determined by the Independent Electoral Commission and having a serial number printed or stamped on it.

   (2) A voter wishing to vote on the question posed by the referendum shall do so by placing a mark in the space provided on the ballot paper to indicate the manner in which he wishes to vote.

8.   Polling hours

   (1) Every poll shall commence at six-thirty o'clock in the morning and close at seven o'clock in the evening, unless the Secretary to the Independent Electoral Commission otherwise orders.

   (2) Different hours for the taking of the poll may be ordered by the Secretary to the Independent Electoral Commission in respect of different constituencies or different polling stations, and in such case the returning officer shall amend any notice issued in terms of subsection (1) accordingly.

   (3) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (1) and (2), a presiding officer may, where voters are waiting to vote, extend the closing time for a period not exceeding two hours.

9.   Control of polling stations

   (1) In the absence of the presiding officer from any polling station, a polling officer nominated by the returning officer shall act as presiding officer.

   (2) A polling officer may be authorized by the presiding officer to do any act which the presiding officer is required or authorized to do at a polling station, except that he may not order the searching of any voter, the arrest of any person or the exclusion or removal of any person from the polling station.

10.   Arrangement of polling stations

   (1) On polling day at every polling station there shall be-

   (a)   outside the polling station in a conspicuous place, a notice setting out the name of the polling station;

   (b)   both within and outside the polling station notices, setting out the question posed by the referendum;

   (c)   one or more polling booths in which voters may handle their ballot papers in secrecy, each containing notices of the kind referred to in paragraph (b), a table and a discard box;

   (d)   one or more ballot boxes placed in front of the presiding officer; and

   (e)   a copy of the election roll for the constituency, a sufficient number of ballot papers, and other things necessary for the poll to be properly and expeditiously carried out.

   (2) Every presiding officer shall be in possession of a seal supplied by the Secretary to the Independent Electoral Commission.

11.   Ballot boxes and discard boxes

   (1) Every ballot box shall be provided with a lock or other device for securing it when closed, and shall be so constructed that ballot papers can be put therein when it is closed but cannot be removed therefrom once it has been sealed in terms of subsection (2).

   (2) Immediately before the commencement of the voting the presiding officer at each polling station shall show each ballot box empty to such persons as may lawfully be present so that

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