The National Elections Commission has launched the civic-voter campaign for the 2011 presidential and legislative elections.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday May 10, 2011 at NEC’s Headquarters in Sinkor, Chairman James Fromoyan said the commission was undertaking the event to ensure the citizens’ mass participation in the ensuing presidential and general elections.
He said the commission kicked off the process earlier on Monday with the clerk of writ issuing writs of elections to 19 election magistrates across the country to begin to put into place the necessary mechanisms for the conduct of free, fair, and transparent elections based upon the mandate of the commission.
The NEC boss noted that the preparatory process would create the enabling environment for voters to exercise their rights to vote without the hindrance that often comes from little or no knowledge of the voting process, especially ballot marking.
He said the commission was also working with its international partners to launch the voters’ education campaign, which he said was also necessary to raise public awareness and encourage voter turnout.
During the campaign, according to the NEC boss, voters would be educated about their rights to vote without fear or favor and about the rights of others who differ with them on candidate choice to exercise their franchise without intimidation or obstruction.
While the civic and voters’ education drive is the sole prerogative of NEC, the commission said it welcomed the active participation of local organizations.
Chairman Fromoyan did not say at what levels these organizations would be welcomed or what NEC would do to facilitate their involvement, but he noted that much needed to be done in achieving the desired goal of creating an informed electorate.
He anticipated that in the lead up to these elections, the commission would scale up its civic and voters’ education content delivery strategies, though the commission would continue to recruit and train civic and voter educators from across the country.
The methods the commission plans to apply in the campaign include electoral district outreach and radio messages coded in simple English and local dialects. Other methods would include the handing out of flyer, the erection of billboards, and the airing of jingles on state and community radios throughout the country.