MDC pushes for online voter registration
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In a press statement today the Secretary General of MDC, Priscila Misihairabwi-Mushonga said MDC is pushing the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede, to introduce an online voter registration system, which allows voter registrations to be done on the internet in an effort to boost registrations, particularly the youths for the imminent polls.
Cognisant of the trends the world over, we feel that in this technological era, the current system of voter registration in Zimbabwe is nonsensical. Registering online allows the kind of privacy and freedom from pressure that the current voter registration process lacks. It could also prove to be a great motivator for youth voters and others.
"While we welcome the introduction of mobile registration points, the MDC feels that the process is unnecessarily cumbersome, which discourages the younger generation from registering as voters. If implemented as soon as possible, we are convinced that we can push up the dismal 18 percent youth voter turnout that was recorded during the 2008 elections to a more significant number in the imminent polls," she said.
With online registration, queues which are a common feature at most voter registration points could be reduced. This would also boost the registration of young voters who do not want the hassle of queuing to register.
According to MDC, the RG is already doing it with passports. The party called upon RG to introduce a similar system for voter registration.
Said Misihairabwi-Mushonga: "If complex applications such as ones for visas can be completed online, what can be so difficult about doing this for voter registration?"
Findings by the Zimbabwe All Media Products and Survey (ZAMPS) show that up to 1.3 million people in Zimbabwe have some form of Internet access, whether at home, in office, Internet Café or by mobile phones. The MDC believes that this is a significant population and should be tapped into as a matter of urgency.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said: "today many lower- income Zimbabweans in both rural and urban areas are able to secure a mobile phone and a SIM card as prices have drastically gone down, unlike in the past when it was a preserve of the elite."
The internet based system would also ensure that Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora are able to register without necessarily having to travel back home.
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