Numbers do not lie. One lawyer said as much as he stood before the Supreme Court last week. “You can’t argue with the arithmetic.” It is unclear whether or not he realised the import of his words, for a look at the numbers referred to (but never explained) in court is quite revealing.
As the bedrock of a free and fair election, the voter registry is a crucial part of any electoral process. A legally verified and finalized list of eligible voters is vital, not only because it provides a check on fraud but because it provides a necessary constant for societal self-reflection.
The constant the voter registry provides allows for an analysis of voter turnout, overall and geographically distinct voting patterns and trends over time. A sound and reliable voter registry can help a society understand its own political behaviors, track these trends over time and space, and plan for the future.
This clearly leaves many questions unanswered. It’s now a waiting game, as the public anticipates the Supreme Court’s detailed judgment. We will have to see how the Court managed to resolve the existence of no less than six different registers and constantly changing voter totals – and then decide if we can also resolve it ourselves.