The law allows for a candidate or political party to nominate (in writing) to the returning officer an authorized agent (“representative”) for each polling station; the nomination should take place not less than 24 hours before polling starts. Party and candidate agents are the accredited representatives of political parties or independent candidates; only political parties and independent candidates that contest elections are entitled to nominate agents.
Each party or independent candidate is allowed only two agents per polling station. Only one of the two agents are allowed in a polling station at a time, so they must alternate. Agents can be authorized for more than one candidate and more than one polling station.
Party and candidate agents may be present at the polling station to follow the polling and counting procedures. Agents have two main functions: they observe the polling and counting processes with a view of reporting whether it was conducted in accordance with the law and they also protect the interests of their nominated candidate or political party in the polling and counting processes. As such, political party and candidate agents are not just “observers”, they are monitors of the process, looking to ensure that the interests of their parties and/or candidates are assured; as such, they are allowed to make comments, lodge a dispute or protest to be included in the polling station electoral report by the presiding officer.
While in the polling stations, the party and candidate agents must not campaign in favour of or against any candidate or political party. They must display their VEO accreditation card at all stages while attending the polling and counting processes. The VEO reserves the right to revoke the accreditation of an agent who violates law or regulations in a polling station.