• Reports
  • November 5, 2005
  • 6 minutes read

About the Election: A voter’s guide

About the Election: A voter’s guide 

By Sabry Abdul Bassit and Atef Awad Hassan

The answers to these questions were provided by the 2005 Political Rights Law with assistance from Atef El Banna, professor of constitutional law at Cairo University and Abd El Gafar Shoukra, vice president of the Arab and African Research Center.

Q: What is different about the Sept. 7 2005 election compared to other elections in Egypt?

A: Egypt’s Constitution was changed to allow a contested presidential election which means that multiple candidates will run for president. There are ten candidates on the ballot. Under the new system, all recognized political parties are allowed to put forward their candidate. Independent candidates were also allowed but none qualified.

Q: Who is eligible to vote?

A: Every adult 18 or over except for those who have been deprived of their political rights by being convicted of a crime. The Armed Forces, police and people working for the Administerial Monitoring Body are not allowed to vote.

Q: How do I vote?

A: You must register on the election lists prepared by the Interior Ministry during November and December of each year. The lists are amended only during those two months. These lists contain the voter’s address and a voter is not allowed to register in more than one place. If you move, you have to change your address on the list in order to change your voting center location. Changes may only be made in November or December.

Q: What documents should I have when I go to vote?

A: Your voter registration card and your national ID card.

Q: What do I see when I enter the voting center?

A: When you enter the voting center the head of the center will ask for your registration card and ID and look for your name on the voter lists. You must sign the list, dip your finger in ink that lasts for 24 hours. You will receive an empty ballot that is stamped on the back. The voter goes behind curtains to choose his candidate and puts the ballot in the ballot box.

Q: How do I find my correct voting center?

A: The voting lists are supposed to be posted in the police station and the polling centers in every constituency, every city, every village, wherever you live.

Q: What if I go to my voting center and they tell me my name is not on the list? What do I do?

A: File a report with the police station. You may need to check other nearby voting centers first.

Q: What if someone stops me and asks me who am I going to vote for?

A: Do not tell him. He may be a supporter for a certain candidate and may stop you from voting.

Q: Are Egyptians living abroad eligible to vote?

A: You cannot vote if you are outside Egypt.

Q: How can I vote if I am registered in one area of Egypt but I work somewhere else far away?

A: There are special voting centers for people who are outside their constituencies.

Q: Can I vote for my sick father?

A: No, and not even for your wife.

Q: What are the voting hours?

A: From 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Q: What shall I do if I see someone vote twice or forging a ballot?

A: Go and tell the chief of the voting center. If he doesn’t do anything, go to the police station and file a report, or complain to a monitor. The election law provides for fines of 500 to 5000 Le and imprisonment for fraud.

Q: What shall I do if I cannot read or write?

A: You can use symbols. The chief of the voting center committee and other members can help you read the names. If you are blind, the president will ask you and he will vote for you.

Q: Why should I vote?

A: Because it is the right and the duty of every citizen and it enables you to have a voice in choosing your own leader. If you are a registered voter and you do not vote you face a fine of 100 pounds.

Q: I want to vote but I am worried about my safety.

A: Go to the polls in a group. In every constituency there are police and security who are supposed to be protecting the voters. The law also provides penalties for anyone who uses power or threats to stop a voter from voting freely.

Q: How can I be sure the voting process is secret?

A: By the law and resolutions from the Ministry of Interior as well as resolutions from the high commission.