The national elections commission registers over 75% of eligible voters in preparation for the upcoming elections

Photos by Mary An/UNDP
Photos by Mary An/UNDP


6 January 2010


Khartoum
- Early official reports from the National Elections Commission provide optimism for the April polling process. The Commission registered over 16 million voters throughout Sudan from Nov 1 through Dec 7, 2009. This is 79% of just over 20 million eligible Sudanese voters determined by the 2008 census exercise. In April, Sudanese citizens will democratically elect the President of Sudan, President of the Government of Southern Sudan, State Governors, and National and State Assemblies.

 

In the village of Pathworo in South Sudan, Ms. Acyan, a 70 year old grandmother was convinced by her daughter to participate in the registration as this action would influence the decisions of tomorrow. Ms. Acyan, in turn, convinced seven friends to join her and this group of women walked one kilometer to register for the elections – the first time in 20 years any of them had been able to participate in such a process.

 

The establishment of registration sites and the administration of the entire registration process was carried out by the National Elections Commission based in Khartoum and with offices located in all 25 Sudanese states. The Commission also planned registration in 19 countries home to a significant number of Sudanese citizens living overseas. The Commission planned this event with the support of UNDP, the United Nations Mission in Sudan, international agencies, and the donor community.

 

UNDP advisors worked with the Commission to establish the overall strategy and budget for the elections. For registration, UNDP assisted with the production and distribution of registration manuals and kits. Civic and voter education manuals and public materials such as posters, stickers, t-shirts were also produced and distributed.

 

The National Elections Commission planned a registration process which would support well-functioning registration sites and a peaceful process which would encourage a healthy voter turn-out, while also establishing state-level data centers to produce an electronic voter roll. UNDP is also working with the NEC to ensure a stronger public education and information campaign for polling.

 

The UNDP-administered elections basket fund currently holds 58 million USD with generous contributions received from Italy, the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Japan, the European Commission, France, and the Netherlands.