ECN advised to make voter registration process flexible

Martin Endjala

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has been advised to make the voter card registration process flexible to avoid unnecessary obstacles for the electorate.

Landless People’s Movement (LPM) youth leader, Duminga Ndala, has advised that voters should have the flexibility to register wherever they are located.

“Unlike constituency elections, where registration within the constituency of residence is necessary, Instead, the focus for the Electoral Commission of Namibia should be on encouraging high voter registration rates,” she said.

She said this could involve implementing mobile registration points to streamline the registration process.

The advice comes following concerns that people may find themselves in other regions or constituencies due to the nature of their work, but they would want to vote in their constituencies of origin.

According to ECN spokesperson De Wet Siluka, eligible voters can register within their constituency to complete their registration for the presidential, national, regional, and local authority elections.

He explained that this will allow them to vote in the 2024 presidential and National Assembly elections, as well as the 2025 regional and local authority elections.

“Although eligible Namibians can register elsewhere across the country and at foreign missions, applicants should register within their respective constituencies where they reside,” he said.

According to Siluka, this is done to streamline the lengthy process of registering a voter card in a different constituency and to facilitate voting in both the Presidential and National Assembly elections, including locality elections.

He explained that people are not renewing or re-registering cards, stating that all voter cards beyond ten years no longer exist, and thus all eligible voters must register for new voter cards for the 2024 elections.

He further acknowledged the frustration of electorates with the inflexible process saying that although the law permits daily voter card registration, their inability to do so stems from a lack of staff and capital.

Siluka added that those who have moved to a new constituency will have to provide the necessary documents that they are now residing with or go for supplementary voter card registration to be eligible to vote.

He added that in 2025 they will again have to go for supplementary registration to vote for the regional and local authority elections within the constituency in which they are residing.

Siluka also revealed that ECN recently appointed regional electoral officers who will be in charge of all regions.

He believes these new developments will address some of the shortcomings of ECN.

Meanwhile, South West Africa National Union (SWANU) president Evalistus Kaarondo said registration must be flexible in terms of geography, especially given the fact that the upcoming elections are national in character.

“Technologically, we must be at a level where geography or locality should have no bearing on where you register to vote or even where you cast your ballot,” he said.

Kaarondo stated that ECN must have flexible adaptability in its work, informed by the realities of people’s daily struggles.

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