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ERC urges decentralisation of voter registration centres

HORIZONTAL

Zimstar News

Poll-based lobby, Election Resource Centre (ERC) has urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to decentralise voter registration centres to add more impetus to the ongoing national exercise.

The call comes amid a recent surge in the number of voter registrants whereupon it has been reported that over 25 000 new voters have successfully registered February under the ZEC registration blitz.

In a statement Wednesday, ERC also urged ZEC to heighten voter awareness of the registration blitz and synchronize efforts with other stakeholders for a wider reach.

The group also said ZEC must increase voter registration centre visibility and easily demarcate ZEC registration centres.

HORIZONTAL

READ FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

ZEC VOTER REGISTRATION BLITZ STATISTICS, A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has published that the February voter registration blitz has so far registered 25 603 registrants across the country. The Election Resource Centre (ERC) welcomes the increase in voter registration statistics witnessed since the beginning of the blitz carried out by ZEC. Though only a fraction of those eligible to register to vote, the initial update of the blitz is a step in the right direction.

While welcoming the increase in voter registration statistics, the concerns we are seeing now with the low uptake of voter registration are eminently fixable. The ERC appeals to the Electoral Commission to further decentralize the registration process as the recorded numbers are affected by the in-accessibility of registration centres. There is a need for the Registrar-General’s Office to harmonise efforts with the Electoral Commission to ensure all youths are provided with national identity documents in order for them to participate in the registration blitz. Additionally, there is a need to increase awareness on the voter registration blitz and the importance of registration.

HORIZONTAL

Inaccessibility of registration centres and lack of national identity documents have been the main reasons why voter registration uptake has been low since the 2018 Harmonized elections. The voter registration blitz has provided an opportunity to bridge the gap between the Commission and citizens. The Commission must further increase the visibility of voter registration centres as citizens have continually complained on the lack of knowledge on the location of voter registration centres.

Recommendations:

1. ZEC must further decentralize voter registration centres to increase the uptake of voter registration in Zimbabwe.

2. The Electoral Commission must increase voter awareness of the voter registration blitz and synchronize efforts with other stakeholders for a wider reach.3. ZEC must increase voter registration centre visibility and easily demarcate ZEC registration centres.

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