Reporter Elias Mambo speaks on U.S Election

Washington DC-As Americans count down to the crucial presidential election scheduled for November 8 and which, according to the poll surveys, is turning to be a tight race between the Democrats candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican Donald Trump, legal issues are taking centre stage as courts are now battling to protect the rights of voters.

Unlike in Zimbabwe where courts are regarded as partisan and support the ruling party, political parties in America are locked in serious legal battles as they seek judgments that will aid them win the crucial polls.

In a lecture at the Ohio State University, law expert and lecturer Dan Tokaji said both the Democrats and the Republicans are fighting the courts to offer judgments which will be in their favour in order to win the elections.

“Democrats want courts to allow voters to vote without identification cards while the Republicans want restricted voting based on identification and registration.

“In North Carolina the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals stopped law imposing ID, limiting the means of voting, finding that it was intended to discriminate based on race,” Tokaji said adding while in Indiana Courts upheld Indiana law requiring government-issued photo ID to vote.”

“The election has ignited serious legal issues which were not considered before because of the nature of the race.”
Tokaji also said the courts have also ruled that voters can register and vote on the same day so that their right to vote is not infringed.

“The political franchise of voting is regarded as a fundamental political right, because it is preservative of all rights,” he said.

The role of courts is however different to what Zimbabwe has been experiencing in all previous elections.

In the controversial 2013 hundreds of voters were turned away for not being in the voters’ roll and this resulted in electoral defeat to the opposition parties in their former stronghold constituencies.

Courts in Zimbabwe have either ignored or ruled in favour of the ruling part each time electoral results are contested.