Voter registration blitz postponement, a missed opportunity
Election Resource Centre (ERC) says the decision to postpone a voter registration blitz that was scheduled for the 6th of December might act as a missed opportunity.
The blitz was expected to help many people especially the youths to register before the general elections.
Most young people are not registered in the country, and this has seen them failing to participate in elections.
However, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) which is tasked with running elections in the country says it has postponed the exercise.
This has however not gone down well with ERC who feel that an opportunity could be missed.
According to ERC, it was good to take advantage of the current lockdown measures and COVID-19 situation to register people.
Zimbabwe is currently in level 2 lockdown with many sectors allowed to operate.
In a statement, ERC said the voter registration blitz creates an opportunity for teens to register and participate in electoral programs.
‘’The Election Resource Centre (ERC) notes with dismay at the postponement of the voter registration blitz scheduled to begin on the 6th of December 2021, which was aimed at “addressing under-registration and affording new voters who have turned 18
a chance to register”.
‘’Voter registration is arguably one of the most important pre-election activities, as voter registration ensures equitable participation in elections, enhances voter turnout, and impacts on the delimitation of constituency boundaries.
‘’The importance of voter registration ahead of the delimitation process cannot be overstated as true representative democracy will only be achieved through equitable representation. The voter registration blitz was important, particularly for engaging first-time voters and under-registered areas ahead of delimitation,’’ said the statement.
Take advantage of low infections
According to ERC, the blitz was an opportunity to take advantage of the low numbers of infections in Zimbabwe.
‘’COVID-19 has presented challenges to the administration of voter registration as the pandemic has greatly impacted the accessibility of registration centres and the inclusiveness of the process.
‘’The voter registration blitz scheduled for December was an
opportunity for ZEC to take advantage of the low COVID-19 infection rates, implement and test the effectiveness of the ZEC COVID-19 Policy on Electoral Activities and overcome the challenges imposed by the pandemic.
‘’With murmurs of a fourth wave hitting Zimbabwe after the festive period, the postponement of the December voter registration blitz is a missed opportunity for the electoral commission,’’ added the statement.