Civic and Voter Education (CVE)
Ahead of the 2017 Presidential and Representatives Elections, the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) is deeply concerned about the delays in the conduct of Civic and Voter Education (CVE) by stakeholders across the country.
Though the National Election Commission (NEC) plans to officially launch Civic & Voter Education, specifically on the voter registration and process in November of 2016, we strongly believe that early civic and voter education of the entire elections and electoral processes is the best way in ensuring a peaceful, orderly and transparent Presidential and Representatives Elections in 2017.
History has shown beyond all reasonable doubts that late and inadequate voter education, especially in rural areas, has contributed tremendously to the huge number of invalid votes, election violence, low voter registration and turnout, discrepancy in election results, double and under-age voter registration, misuse of state resources, the use of excessive force by state security during election and so on.
We are of the strongest unquestionable conviction that in order to sufficiently defeat these electoral anomalies, which create negative perception, an effective voter education is crucial to ensuring that informed electorate can properly exercise their rights to vote. We also believe that voter education must be undertaken early and strengthened with emphasis on basic information about the whole election, voting procedures as well as the rights and responsibilities of voters in a democratic and civilized society.
For more than one decade since the Liberian people tasted peace and stability following at least 15 brutal years of war and destruction, the international community, working with the government as well as with and through NGOS and civil society organizations have played a significant role in helping Liberians to maintain the peace won. They have helped in providing resources and technical assistance to bolster citizens’ awareness and participatory democracy. This must continue in the pending democratic process which we consider the real turning point and test in Liberia’s post war democratic dispensation.
That way, among others, we are therefore calling on the international community, regional bodies as well as international NGOs including the Opens Society for West Africa (OSIWA), EU, the US Government through USAID, NDI, Carter Center, IFES, UNDP, etc to provide technical and financial support to local and national civil society organizations so as to begin early civic and voter education across the country.
If adequate financial and technical support is given to local and national institutions including ours, We strongly believe that there would be drastic reduction in violence during the 2017 elections. Additionally, the electorates on the contrary would be fully informed about their eights and responsibility which overall results would translate into a successful, peaceful, orderly and transparent election come 2017, paving way for a new democratic dispensation in our country.