The Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, has said that NEC is targeting around 250,000 young people across the country to be included on the nation’s current voter-roll.
Chairman Korkoya said that the inclusion of the 250,000 youths, a majority of whom will be first-time voters, is an important step forward as the Commission strives to provide all Liberians equal access to the electoral process.
Cllr. Korkoya made the comments when he officially launched the two-month nationwide youth awareness project at the James Fromoyan Hall at the NEC.
The two-month nationwide youth awareness is intended to spearhead the Voter-Roll Update (VRU) exercise.
The VRU exercise is also meant for the inclusion of Liberians, who have attained the age 18 and above since the last national elections were held in 2011. It is also intended to attract and include those who did not register for the last election. It will cater to and accommodate Liberians who have changed locations in the country.
Mr. Korkoya said that the youth awareness campaign on the VRU exercise is a nationwide information dissemination effort that would be carried out in secondary schools, colleges, universities, and at youth gatherings and events around the country.
It is aimed at ensuring that youths, especially first-time voters, are included on the current voter roll. The conduct of the campaign began Tuesday, December 10, and ends on February 10, 2014.
“As indicated earlier, this campaign is to be conducted throughout the country to educate and encourage youths to participate in the VRU exercise over the next two months,” he said.
“This national endeavor is part of the Commission’s integrated Civic and Voter Education Program for the Special Senatorial Elections of October 14, 2014. The Commission said it is targeting about 250,000 young people to be included on the current voter roll.
Recently the Commission launched two days of training for five national civil society organizations and 45 community- based organizations on the methodology (method, style) and procedures of the conduct of this youth awareness campaign on the VRU exercise.
Cllr. Korkoya indicated that the successful implementation of the project would enhance the understanding of the eligible youths on the VRU exercise. He said that it would further provide them a step-by-step approach to understanding the purpose and objective of the entire exercise.
He informed the audience that the commission would shortly accredit more than 200 civil society organizations (CSOs) to support its voters’ education efforts during this electoral period.
“These organizations have already been evaluated, based on criteria set by the Commission and its international partners,” he said.
“I wish to underscore that sustaining our emerging democracy is our collective responsibility. The opportunity is yours now to play your part through the meticulous implementation of this project, so that you can all proudly take credit for your contributions tomorrow,” Cllr. Korkoya said.
The Executive Director of NEC, Lamin Lighe, called on the young people to take advantage of the exercise in order to make informed decisions that would have a positive trickle-down effect on the general Liberia populace.
Meanwhile, the five CSOs that will lead the implementation of the youth awareness campaign are: the National Youth Movement for Transparent Election (NAYMOTE), United Women Development Association (UWODA), Sustainable Development Association (SDA), Development Education Network-Liberia (DEN-L) and the Liberia Needy Women and Children Organization (LINWCO).