28 DAYS TO GO: Seven things to know about upcoming presidential elections

In about six weeks, Rwandans will go to the polls to vote their President. The presidential election will take place on August 3 and 4, in the Diaspora and inside the country, respectively. Voting is every citizens’ right that should be proudly exercised.

In an effort to sensitise Rwandans about the upcoming election, The New Times brings to you a series of information that will help you understand and participate in the election.

Is it too late to register to vote?

No, it is not too late. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) is still updating their voters’ register and you have until July 20, 2017 to have registered online. The online registration is done at the NEC website www.nec.gov.rw.  The manual registration process closed though.

What if I live in the Diaspora?

Following requests by Rwandans living abroad, the number of polling stations have increased. Every community that has over 40 Rwandans gets a polling centre. Election Day is August 3, a day before citizens in Rwanda cast their vote.

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How can I verify that I am on the voters register?

This is mainly done my phone text messaging service (SMS). On your mobile phone, type the word ‘NEC’ leave space, add your national Identity card number, leave space, add year of birth and send it to ‘7505’. You will receive an instant reply that has your voters card, ID, your registered address and the polling station.

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How do I find my polling station?

Your polling station is indicated on your voter’s card. However, if you do not have the card, you can check using SMS. The procedure is the same as (two above) checking whether you are a registered voter.

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Do I need my voters’ card to vote?

To make voter registration seamless and faster, it is important that you turn up with your voters’ card. But if you lost it, you will still be able to vote as long as you are on the electoral register.

Please turn up at the local polling station with your government issued ID (Indangamuntu or passport).

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But I am in Diaspora and I don’t have a national ID . . .

If you are in the Diaspora and do not have an ID, you can still apply for a consular card with the help of the Rwandan leadership in your area. The card will help you register for voting in the Diaspora and you can use it as a voter’s card.

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What if I have changed location?

If you want to change your voting location, you may change your polling station through NEC website  or by text. To use SMS, type the word “Kwimuka” leave a space followed by your ID number, leave space, add your year of birth and new location. From the name of the district to the village in ascending order. This applies to both Rwandans in the Diaspora as well as those living in the country.

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