The National Electoral Commission (NEC) wrapped up its voter registration exercise last Saturday. This exercise is meant to harmonise and update the voters’ registry ahead of next year’s Presidential polls.
However, reports point to the fact that a good number of eligible voters have missed this opportunity. They blame it on a civic education campaign that was not exhaustive.
As a result, this section of potential voters is appealing to NEC to extend the registration to give chance to those that missed the exercise.
We can only add a voice to this call. It is within the mandate and interests of NEC to come up with a compressive voter registry. Therefore according a second chance to those that missed the initial exercise needs no debate.
They could either extend the exercise by a couple of weeks or simply reschedule it to some specific time in the near future depending on their internal plans.
But what came out vividly as complaints from the public is that the civic education process did not sink down to many. And this is where NEC needs to put more emphasis.
The tools for a successful civic education campaigns are many to consider. For example in addition to different platforms that NEC uses including traditional communication channels like print and audio-visual media, NEC could tap into outdoor communication channels.
The use of out door tools like billboards, screen displays, banners or flyers for mobilisation purposes pays off since these tools easily capture the attention of people on the streets.
To attract new and young voters, NEC could use social interactive and networking tools like face-book or Twitter to send out its message. These have become a strong mobilisation tool.
But again NEC needs to be technologically savvy. For example, it could provide options for voters to register on-line. This is not only faster and convenient but also augurs well with the busy working class.
One key indicator that reflects a successful election is the bigger voter turn out. We can only ensure this turn-out if the voters are given chance to register.
But on the other hand, the case does not only rest on the shoulders of NEC. Even we the voters need to give this exercise the due attention it deserves. We need to acknowledge its urgency especially if the electoral body is to plan for this important task ahead of time.