With less than five months to the conduct of the Special Senatorial Election in the country, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has launched its Civic Voter Education Baseline in Monrovia.
The Civic Voter Education Baseline Survey is intended to enable the NEC to continue the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in Liberia.
Speaking at the launch of the CVE Baseline at the headquarters of the NEC on Wednesday, a Commissioner of the National Elections Commission with Oversight responsibility on CVE, Samuel Joe, described the launch as a milestone in the life of the Electoral process in the country.
Mr. Joe said the Baseline Study Report comes at a time when all eyes; are on the conduct of the October 2014 Special Senatorial Election.
He said the Elections Baseline Survey conducted by the Liberia Media Center (LMC) on Civic and Voter Education was undertaken with the objective of enabling the National Elections Commission (NEC) to continue the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in Liberia.
Mr. Joe emphasized that Civic Voter Education is broader in scope as it refers to the dissemination of information about a country’s political system within the context of providing citizens with an understanding of their rights and responsibility.
He added that voter education on the other hand, refers to the dissemination of information, materials and programs designed to inform voters about the specifics as well as the steps and procedures of the voting process for a particular election.
According to Mr. Joe, the survey among other things shows that youths appear far more knowledgeable and aware of the electoral process as compared to other target groups. He disclosed that seventy-three percent of the youth population were either aware or highly aware of the electoral process; that women, CBOs and persons with disabilities also demonstrate high levels of awareness with 53%, 63%, and 56% respectively; that half of the participants associated as “Ordinary citizens” was not aware, showing a close correlation to the survey main finding.
The NEC Commissioner also added that the majority of the respondents have interest in the upcoming Senatorial Elections as 86% of them have registered to vote and that only 14% said they had not registered.
Upon this survey NEC maintained that there should be a robust civic voter education program that will engender the mass of participation of all stakeholders, and the information on the electoral process be sent in every corner of the country.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Joe has further disclosed that the Baseline has helped to bring marginalized groups such as women and the disabled on board as this has been their fear in the political community of men.
He said the survey also gives an insight in the casting of ballots and the sorting, and counting and tallying processes, thereby discouraging the widespread misconception that no one wins fairly.
He also commended the Liberia Media Center for its report and other partners including the UNDP and IFES for their support. Commissioner Joe also praised the CVE Section of NEC, the BOC and the entire NEC family for the hard work being carried out to ensure a successful conduct of the 2014 Special Election.