Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mozambique Gets Ready to Rock the Vote

Last summer, volunteers could be found everywhere – on the streets, outside of your grocery store, at your local music festival - with voter registration forms, trying to register and motivate new voters to make their opinions count in our 2008 presidential election. Partially due to these efforts, the US saw a huge increase in new voters on November 4th, and also a great enthusiasm for our fair election process. Luckily, the UNDP is helping Mozambique prepare similar efforts for their upcoming October elections to encourage everyone to vote, and also to ensure more fair and transparent elections.

Ever since the first multiparty and parliamentary elections were held there in 1994, the UNDP has been supporting Mozambique’s electoral process. Primarily, the UNDP has helped to improve the technical skills and resources of electoral commissions by training registration officers, polling officers and education agents. These officials are trained to ensure fairness and transparency behind the scenes, and also to help educate the public about electoral practices.

Voter registration is also a high priority. More than 387,000 new voters have been registered so far for the upcoming election, and “registration brigades” are hoping not only to register more voters, but also to encourage people who are registered to get out and vote to counter the country’s historically low election turnout. Although many older voters have yet to be persuaded that their vote really matters, there’s hope. Summed up by one brigade volunteer, “I also know a lot of young people who feel just the opposite: if we are allowed to vote, let’s act. Don’t leave it to others to decide for us!”

Want to learn more about Mozambique’s election preparations? Click Here!